of a Godly Servant
Restoring servanthood's heart is a key to enduring power, authority, and victory in a believer's life. All power and authority flow out of servanthood, whose heart is centered in Yeshua's character and blood. He came not to bring glory to Himself, or bask in praise of man, or be famous. He sought a quiet life that was lived boldly in the demonstration of His Father's power.
He said: But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave. (Matthew 20:25-27) We imitate God’s nature in our leadership, which means responding to others with kindness, gentleness, and compassion (Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12). We seek to communicate with those under our care (1 Peter 5:2-3), laying aside personal agendas for the Lord’s agenda. Therefore, we uphold the following qualities, which reflect our Lord Yeshua's character and our Father in Heaven.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8)
When one lacks humility, there is a temptation to misuse one's title and power. Besides, legitimate title and power are rooted in Scripture: “‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5). The gospel-centered leader recognizes that the “meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:1) is an appropriate use of title and power when under his Lordship.
Shortly before his death, Yeshua decided to give his followers a clear picture of their attitude. He took off his outer garments, got a basin, and washed their feet. Cleaning them would be the job of a servant, and a lowly one at that. The disciples resisted the idea that their master and teacher should stoop to such a thankless task, but Jesus persisted.You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:13-17)
If Jesus humbled himself in this way—and even further in his death—then we also should be humble in all we do for him and others.
2. Be Ready In Season and Out.
We are always in training for the ongoing work of the Kingdom. We learn something new every day, so daily, we train ourselves for godliness. As bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and for life to come … We seek to practice these things and immerse ourselves in them so that all may see our progress. (1 Timothy 4:7-8; 15)
Yeshua spoke to ordinary men that would do extraordinary things for the Kingdom. Novices, with no real experience in the work of God, yet they listened, sought to walk in His footsteps, and learned essential ministry that their testimony would draw souls to our Lord's completed work of salvation. He has finished the work of our salvation, but he still calls us to work for his kingdom. Therefore, with gratitude and love, we train to be the most effective servants possible.
2 Timothy 4; 1-3 states: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; reproved, rebuke, and encourage with every form of patient instruction. For the time will come when men will not tolerate sound doctrine, but with itching ears, they will gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires.…
We are to keep our lamps burning and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes … If he comes in the second watch, or the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! (Luke 12:35-37a; 38)
The work of the kingdom receives little thanks or recognition. Prophets, something that has garnered great attention in our times today, run counter to the biblical reality. When a prophet is correct, God gets the glory. When he or she incorrect, the prophet is disciplined and humbled. There is no self-glory in any work of the kingdom. Rather, live quiet lives and persevering in our own struggles to contend for the faith.
We strive to be like David, who was content living in obscurity and learned to slay his lions and bears (spiritual speaking) and becomes a powerful warrior king. For the kingdom's sake, we recognize that we are not on our own.
Therefore our strength and perseverance come not from ourselves or any gifts that lie within, but only through the power and daily presence of God and the increasing work of the Holy Spirit. The Master has given us work to do, a glorious future to work toward, and a promise that our work is not in vain. Most importantly, he gives us himself, working in us and through us, so that we may be truly ready for whenever he comes.
4. Ready to Serve Where Needed.
Yeshua's followers should have no limits to their willingness to serve, giving themselves to missions or giving up free time, helping each other in prayer, encouragement, and whatever service bell calls us in our life. It states: "For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them…I have become all things to all people, that by all means, I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel that I may share with them in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9:19; 22b-23)
Yeshua walked hundreds of miles. He had no place to call His own. The multitudes pulled on Him from all directions and people from all walks of life. He had to deal with the bickering of his coworkers, the unbelief of His own people. Yet He washed his follower’s feet. He did what was needed to advance His Father's work. No task was too small; no soul was too far away for His hand of compassion. In other words, no task was beneath him. Likewise, we should have no limits to our willingness to serve others for our Father's glory. In fact, serving others is serving Father because He sent His Son to serve.
5. A Servant Serves (or Not) As God Directs
David wanted to serve and honor God by building God a wonderful and permanent house. He drew up the plans for all the Temple's details and even talked to the priests and Levites to make sure everyone was on the same page. Even with all the preparation he had done and all the other ways he had served God, 1 Chronicle 28 shows that the Lord did not allow David to build the temple. It was for Solomon, David’s son, to build it. David accepted this and made everything as ready for Solomon as he could.
Sometimes the Lord says no to our plans even though it seems right and noble in our mind's eyes. Just because it is for ministry does not mean God is asking us to do it. Ministry is not a vocation but a service call that moves from one assignment to another as directed by God. All that we undertake comes from four simple words; "Thy will be done." Maybe there’s someone more qualified, or we are already serving in other places. Maybe God does not need our elaborate plan. But we trust and obey God, knowing that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
6. Understands Suffering
All of God's children go through seasons of suffering. Either you have, you are, or you will — “through many tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). The reality is a sobering reminder that heaven is easy and earth is difficult. When we depart this earthly frame, we find a New Jerusalem of no tears and no pain, of no mourning and no death, but it hasn’t arrived yet (Revelation 21:1, 4). But just because we experience suffering as we await our bodies' redemption, it doesn’t mean that our suffering is random or without purpose. The Bible doesn’t whitewash our experience of suffering. Rather it recognizes the multifaceted ways that suffering can come upon us. The apostle Paul wrote, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9).
Yet, firsthand experience in suffering is essential in equipping us for ministry. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:4 that God “comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” But how? And what is the link between experiencing suffering and equipping for ministry? David Powlison answers this way: When you’ve passed through your own fiery trials and found God to be true to what he says, you have real help to offer. You have firsthand experience of both his sustaining grace and his purposeful design. He has kept you through pain; he has reshaped you more into his image. . . . what you are experiencing from God, you can give away in increasing measure to others. You are learning both the tenderness and the clarity necessary to help sanctify another person’s deepest distress.
Paul lists several types of suffering in these two verses — mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Each of these is different ways that we can suffer, and when suffering comes, often several of these types of suffering are involved. As Jesus’s light shines through us, people who love darkness (John 3:19) will become convicted and uncomfortable in the light of his glory and will hate and ridicule us. If we truly seek to serve Jesus, it’s only a matter of time before we must share in a portion of his suffering. But we take heart that someday Jesus will stand in victory, and we who acknowledged him before men will stand with him.
7. A Servant Is Not Ashamed
" Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) The word translated “ashamed” means “disgraced” or “personally humiliated.” A person “ashamed” in this way is like someone singled out for misplacing his confidence—he trusted in something, and that something let him down. The word can refer to being dishonored because of forming the wrong alliances. So, when Paul says that he is not ashamed of the gospel, he says his confidence in the gospel is not misplaced. There is no disgrace in declaring it. Paul had given his life to proclaiming the truths that Jesus Himself had revealed to him (Acts 9:3–6; 2 Corinthians 12:2–4). He explained to the Romans why he did not believe that he had wrongly identified with Jesus and why proclaiming Jesus’ message was his life’s work.
The work we do is for Yeshua by the Father’s command, always, through the power of his Holy Spirit. We have the privilege to carry the gospel—that Yeshua died to pardon sins and rose to conquer death—to the world. It is a joyous work we’ve been given, and we look to the day when our Master returns and says to each of us, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23). Never are we to be ashamed of the gospel message and holy work of living for Him.