Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Heart of a Servant

            Talk about a title that makes people not want to read the article! Jesus had the same problem when he talked about his disciples living as servants – since everyone knew what servants lived like, no one wanted to obey Jesus and become a servant. 

            That is still true today and is one of the greatest obstacles to the church in our task to share the love of Jesus with the entire world that God loves. There is no shortage of people who want to scream and rant at the world and tell them what they ought to be doing differently! There is a tremendous shortage of people who are willing to wade into the stream of humanity, offering loving service and encouragement, demonstrating the patient love of Jesus.

           But service is not optional for disciples of Jesus. Listen carefully as Jesus gives his personal mission statement: “I am among you as one who serves!” (Luke 22:27 NIV) He also said: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many!” (Mark 10:45 NIV) This is the same Jesus who said: “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” (Luke 6:40 NIV) You will never be fully trained as a disciple of Jesus Christ until you willingly take the identity of a servant – and then get busy serving everyone around you!

            When I was eighteen years old I read “Improving Your Serve” by Charles Swindoll and it was life changing for me. I want to share a passage from that book with you. “I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.”

            Well, when it is put that starkly everyone can see the foolishness of claiming to want God without really wanting God! Wanting “the warmth of the womb, not a new birth” is the functional equivalent to thinking you can be a disciple of Jesus without becoming the servant of all. And I, like all disciples, completely understand the unwillingness to humble ourselves and serve others. But I have seen what happens when people actually have the faith to follow Jesus to the basin and towel! And Jesus wants service to be at the heart of the Palo Alto church family. I hope that you do, too.

- Kenny Payne    

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