The Mark of Servanthood
By Jill Briscoe
Have you noticed something? In the church, everyone wants to serve in an adversary capacity. The Christian world in the West is striving to learn expertise in ministry in order to lead, direct, and plan. For this we need servants to be led, directed, and to implement our plans - people who will serve us, so we don’t have to serve others. The idea seems to be: just train them to do it.
I think we are in danger of forgetting the words of Jesus when He said, “...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve...” (Matt. 20:28). We see that principle lived out in His life. When you read Scripture, you see Jesus being so busy helping others that He didn’t always have time to eat. He even made lunch for 5,000 people one day, before He ate His own.
There are things a few of us need to concentrate on like leadership training, but not without making sure we are in some serving capacity elsewhere. The attitude all of us leaders and followers alike need to be focusing on is servanthood.
We are here to serve the Lord by serving His church. It is not for us to “Lord it over people,” but rather to help them to make Jesus Lord of their lives. We are not Lord of their lives, He is. We are not to tell them what to do, but to show them how they can find out what God wants them to do for themselves.
Servanthood is not a subject that sells a lot of books. Instead, you have to disguise the title and make sure people buy the book before they figure out what it is really all about. After all, who wants to read about washing feet, much less do it? And that is what I see to be the real problem.
There are too many Christians who say “I don’t do feet!” We do church, we do Bible study, we do administration, we do club programs, we do solos, and we do committee work, but we don’t and won’t do feet. Yet it is doing feet that makes the difference between a first-time person visiting our church again, opening up to the gospel, or even getting to the mission field.
Doing feet is not necessarily doing menial work either. It is basically doing something you don’t want to do for someone who needs it done for them. Ask yourself, “What do I do that no one else knows I do for someone, that is a real act of servanthood for Jesus’ sake alone?”
When did you last stay home so a family member in need of some encouragement could go to a Christian concert you wanted to go to? When did you last pick up after your kids one more time because they were buried under homework and couldn’t do it all? When was the last time you said, “I’ll help you with your homework” instead of “I’m telling you to get that work finished!” And when was the last time you did a practical act of helping when all you wanted to do was stay home and go to bed early?
Doing feet is really going the extra mile. Most of us go a mile for people. Some of us even go a mile and a half. But only a few go two miles¾the extra mile that is the mark of true servanthood.
Servanthood is not being a doormat. Servanthood is searching for people to serve for the love of Jesus and incidentally doing it cheerfully. You and I are most like God when we are serving others. Let’s bring a smile to His heart!