Service and Sacrifice
October 8, 2019 | Jessica Benko
Christianity and a servant lifestyle are like … peanut butter and jelly or brownies and ice cream. They go hand in hand, and are perfect for each other! And, food analogies aside, pursuing a servant lifestyle within the context of Christianity serves to transform lives and move the Gospel forward.
How do we know? Because Jesus Himself became a servant in order to “win” more people for His Kingdom. Not just once or twice, but over and over and over again:
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:13–17, NIV)
It’s important to understand what it means to be a servant, before examining what it has to do with Christianity. A servant can be defined as a devoted and helpful supporter or follower.*
Who does this remind you of? The Apostles? Other followers of Jesus? You?
Jesus intentionally became a servant in order to meet people where they were. From washing feet to sleeping on the ground to dying on the cross, He did what He needed to do to win more of them for His Kingdom. And as He won more followers, Jesus encouraged them to embrace a servant lifestyle in order to continue spreading the Gospel. Consider what Paul said:
“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like the one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law … to the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:19–23, NIV)
So if Jesus was the ultimate servant leader (He was!), and instructed His followers to also become servants in order to bring others close to Him (He did!), then the connection between Christianity and a servant lifestyle becomes more clear: through service and a servant lifestyle, Christians can help bring others closer to the Kingdom of God. And in doing so, they are able to live out an extraordinarily important teaching from Jesus.
What’s exciting is that each of us has our own spiritual gifts. And through our gifts and unique journeys, we are able to impact and serve others in ways that are meaningful and effective — and ultimately bring them closer to God.
Spoiler alert: it won’t always be easy! Especially within a culture that tells us to value “me, myself and I” above all else. But we have to try, and try again. Because that’s what Jesus did, and that’s what He’s called us to do as Christians:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3–4, NIV)
Are you ready?