SERVANTHOOD: What Does It Mean?
By James Holland SR
True Power For Effective Ministry Is Found At The Graveyard Of Ego!
If you are brave enough, read on! I must warn you that what you are about to read, if received, may well totally change your life and perspective on your relationship with God and His church.
What does servant hood really mean from a Biblical perspective? Servant hood is the narrow road to real leadership. Powerful leaders are always servants at heart. They understand that there is a price to pay. Servants are not always looking for the easy way out! They just do what ever it takes to get the job done. Thomas Edison, our nation’s most famous inventor, said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident. They came by hard work.”
If you are going to make a difference in your world and in the kingdom of God, then you will no doubt have to sacrifice. In fact, in the Bible, when people made a sacrifice, they called it worship. The strange thing I have noticed about most church people, as well as leaders, is the fact that they have no problem sacrificing someone else to God’s service, but have trouble sacrificing themselves. People don’t like the idea of sacrifice. Yet, in God’s kingdom, as well as the real world we live in, it’s just the way it is. There is a price to pay! Sacrifice is part of the price. Joseph made many sacrifices before his real victory. It is important to stay focused, especially while you are going through a sacrificial growth pattern. Sacrifices will either help you grow or it will cause you to give up. The professional world is not afraid of sacrifice; why should the church be?
Self-discipline is part of the sacrifice. It is the inner quality that is neccessary before you can keep on going and paying the price until you reach each goal that you have set. Jesus was a great example of a life of sacrifice. Yet, look at the power He had and the many things He accomplished in spite of the opposition He faced. No one else can make you put in that extra effort to see the job through. It has to come from the inside, and it requires that you develop the strength to turn down things that may take your time away from your primary objective.
So, the next time you see a great leader and declare that you want to be just like them, you should first consider the price and sacrifices they have made to be used of God as they are. My friend, every leader worth anything to God’s kingdom has paid some kind of a price and made many sacrifices to reach that point. God designed it that way so we would have the right spirit, the right attitude, and the right perspective on things. We are, and always will be, simply servants. Every leader will pay a price of one kind or another.
The reason this price-paying, sacrificing business is so important to us is that when you give something your all, when you really work hard and sacrifice, it builds both your ability to do something well and strengthens your mental attitude as well. The value of something is determined by the time, effort, and sacrifice that it takes to achieve it. That’s why if you simply always give people everything, most of them will not deeply appreciate it. It cost them nothing!
So, while salvation is free, God in His great wisdom factored into the relationship between God and man this thing called sacrifice. The level of sacrifice determines the level of relationship. No one will serve anyone or anything they do not love.
You may ask, “What prices do we pay?” Let me mention just a few: obedience, loving one another, serving God’s kingdom with joy, and using our talents and time for God instead of ourselves. It’s all about service. Now, for those of you who would label me a legalist, understand that I am not and neither does scripture, advocate that we are saved by our service. Salvation is free. Yet, there is something drastically wrong with people who have received real salvation and do not want to be in the service of God’s kingdom. We don’t serve to be saved; we serve because we are saved! This free gift cost God His best. Our service enhances the value of this gift in our lives as well as our relationship with God.
How We Act
People will follow whatever example they have, good or bad. We see this pattern throughout scripture. People need to see local success to keep them motivated. It’s not enough to just talk about how great things are everywhere else. This kind of thinking is exactly what got Israel in trouble. It didn’t matter what God did for them, they still battled with believing that it was always better everywhere except where they were! Do you do that?
When Israel had good leaders, they did well. When they had bad leaders, they did poorly. So how we, as leaders, act is very important. Real servants make themselves available to serve. They are not always filling up their time with other things. They leave time open to serve if called upon. Real servants pay attention to needs. They are always looking for ways to help others and God’s kingdom. Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
We no doubt miss many opportunities for serving because we lack sensitivity. As a true servant, I must do my best with what I have. Don’t waste time complaining and pouting about what you don’t have. It’s a trick of Satan. In fact, if you spend much time complaining about what you don’t have, Satan will step in the back door and take away what you do have. Stop making excuses or waiting for better circumstances! Don’t procrastinate! “He who observes the wind will not sow. And he who regards the clouds will not reap” (Ecclesiastes 11:4). Look at this verse in the NLT version. “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”
Remember: Less than perfect service is better than no service. Whatever you do, “do it with all your heart.” You will never arrive at a place in your life where you are too important to help with menial task. Jesus specialized in menial tasks. He helped children, cooked breakfast for the disciples, served lepers, and washed feet. He was a servant. He wants us to be servants as well. Doesn’t it just “irk” you when you watch people walk in church and see a piece of paper on the floor and just step over it. Or, see something that needs repaired or painted, and say, “Somebody needs to do something about this!” Where did the servants go?
Great opportunities often disguise themselves in small tasks. As servants, we need to finish what we start. Real servants serve upward to those who are in authority and sometimes downward to those in need. As servants, we need to be trustworthy and dependable.
Total commitment is the result of sacrifice. People today have great difficulty making a commitment to anything. It seems many of them spend their entire life going from one thing to another looking for a quick and easy way. Or else, just settle for something less than their dreams. Many people really only make a half-hearted commitment to something, and tell themselves they are making a total commitment for a little while to whatever is new. This too is normally short-lived.
Committed people attract other people like magnets. When a committed person walks in a room, it just seems to lighten up. Most people want to really feel some kind of excitement and dedication but they must see it first. Jesus understood this so He became a servant. Look at the impact it has had and is still having upon our world.
It’s Time to Stand
Once you make a total commitment, nothing else will ever be the same again. You will get real direction. You will begin to sense real purpose in what you are doing. At some point in your life, you have to stop running. You have to stick with it. Total commitment helps us to develop “mental toughness.” It helps you to withstand the pressures that build up in any area of what you are trying to do. It is amazing how a committed person will take problems and turn them into opportunities. Total commitment eliminates the possibility of quitting. If you are going through a tough time, don’t stop – just keep on going! It’s all about commitment! Servant hood is about service, and if we are true servants of God, it will help us to do whatever it takes and then some.
Go the Extra Mile
Jesus taught the “Extra Mile” principle. He also practiced it. We too will be called upon from time to time to go the extra mile. We must be prepared to do so. Before you can be totally committed, you have to love and believe in what you are doing. There is no substitute for loving what you do. It is the ingredient around which your entire commitment is based. We are in the greatest business in the world – Kingdom Work!
Total commitment is something we must also help build and encourage in others as well. It is true that you cannot make people do anything. We, however, can show them the positive impact that they can have on what they are trying to do and how they can be a part of it.
Totally committed people never have to announce it to anyone. People will be able to tell. Nothing excites people more than being around someone who has a purpose and a goal. One of the most important things you can do is set an example of total commitment to the purpose you are involved in.
Committed People Attract Other People Like Magnets
Nothing affects your life more than the commitments that you choose to make. Here are some steps to Total Commitment:
Step One: Commit yourself to Christ and to the church family. Co do this, you must have a desire to be used. In God’s king-torn there are many who are interested, but few who are committed. It is the committed folks who actually get the work lone. We must be a willing vessel. We must be dependable. Neither God, nor Satan can get much use out of someone who s not dependable! As a leader, you need spiritual balance in your walk with God. You must understand that every little irritation or every little delay is not necessarily a devil doing :he work. We must have balanced spiritual insight to know what is actually of the flesh and what is of the spirit.
Step Two: You must be willing to commit yourself to the habits necessary for spiritual growth. Our commitments show our values, what we really think, what we love. Those who are uncommitted are, in essence, declaring, “Nothing is important to me.” If we live our entire lives committed to nothing, then we are sending the message to others that the only thing that does matter to me is me! Paul tells us in Romans 12:1, “Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service” (NLT).
Nothing just happens. God is a God of order, a God of plans. He is a master planner. We need to develop good study habits, good prayer habits, good worship habits, and good witnessing habits. We need to learn to do these things on purpose, not just when we feel like doing them. Gravitate around leaders who practice good habits. We must destroy the mindset that is so prevalent in some Christian circles today – “I want something for nothing!” This kind of warped thinking is hindering the growth and maturity of God’s kingdom. I have noticed among God’s people that even those who seem to be under the influence of this voodoo thinking do not seem to think it strange that everything else in the arena of life has a price tag on it.
Life costs us! When a child is born into this world, it cost money to pay the medical bill as well as the hospital bill. It cost money when you bring that child home. It cost money to feed the child, clothe him, and educate him. As morbid as it may sound, even when he dies, it costs to bury him.
We think nothing of paying for a house, a car, a boat, or clothes, or other necessities of life. So why is it, when it comes to God’s work, we think it should be free? Beware of those with this mindset. They are not committed, regardless of what they may be saying. When you are committed, you are willing to pay the price. So commit yourself to habits that will help you grow. No one can make you grow spiritually. However, if you want to grow spiritually, no one can stop you either! Proverbs 18:16 records, “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.”
Step Three: Commit yourself to using your God-given gifts and abilities in serving God and others. Understand that God has given everyone gifts and abilities. Every person can be a leader in some area. We all have influence on someone. If we can ever understand this, we can do so much more in the kingdom. We must use the abilities we already possess while we work to develop other abilities. We must work in unity with others. Part of being a leader is being a team player. Develop skills that will help you work well with other people.
-Here are some guidelines:
1. Make it clear what you want them to do.
2. Ask questions so that everyone understands what the goal is.
3. Give people a chance to express their way.
4. Recognize the importance of other’s feelings and ideas.
5. Find the best way to do something – whether it is your idea or not.
6. Admit wrongs and ask forgiveness.
7. Give proper recognition to those working with you.
Andrew Carnegie said, “There are two types of people who never achieve very much in their lifetime. One is the person who won’t do what he or she is asked to do, and the other is the person who does no more than he or she is asked to do.”