It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant. Matthew 20:26
Humility and service are central to Christianity. Jesus displayed the greatest humility and service in becoming a human and dying on a cross (Philippians 2). The reason why this is so amazing is because Jesus is the God of the universe. He has always existed in community with the Father and the Spirit. And yet, he gave up so much of his glory to become one of us and reconcile us to himself. The central mission of Jesus’ life was to serve (Mark 10:45). In other words, Jesus is the ultimate deacon (servant).
Jesus is truly the greatest among us. That’s what gives Jesus the authority and credibility to tell us that if we are to follow him, we must also become servants. If the one who was fully human found great joy and satisfaction in serving others, shouldn’t that weigh heavily on our views of serving? All of us have a bent toward self-serving. We are driven to look out for our own needs and interests and desires. That’s part of our struggle with indwelling sin.
But, Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death. That means we don’t have to have a “me-mentality.” The good news of Christianity is that Jesus meets our deepest needs and desires. The more we believe the gospel, the more it renews our minds and hearts. And the more that happens, the more we can focus on selflessly serving others.
The word “servant” in our fighter verse is the word deacon. Jesus correlates greatness with serving or deaconing. Part of what should set us apart as Christians is our radical commitment to serve others out of love. Jesus said that people will know we are disciples when we love one another (John 13:35). People are to see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). This will only happen when we deacon one another.
I’m not talking about the formal office of deacon (1 Timothy 3:8-13). I’m talking about having the attitude and mindset of a servant. That’s what Jesus is referring to in Matthew 20:26.
Serving looks like giving generously to meet the physical needs of others.
Serving looks like not having to always be right.
Serving looks like not demanding that your spouse meet your needs, but focusing on lovingly meeting the needs of your spouse.
Serving looks like washing that sink full of dishes that your roommates have left for the umpteenth time.
Serving looks like committing to a local church as a member and volunteering your time to help make more disciples of Jesus Christ.
Serving looks like spending quality time with your children even after a long day of work because you realize that you are never off the clock as a parent.
We are all called to be deacons.
I’d love to hear from you. In what way(s) can you serve others in meaningful ways? Share in the comment section on this blog or on Facebook.