Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

Developing Servants 1

Paul wrote, in Galatians 5:13-15, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.”

“Through love serve one another” is the practical outworking of the second greatest command, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” That is, in order to show love, we must learn to serve. Servanthood, therefore, since it is connected to the second greatest command, is vital to our spiritual welfare. If we do not serve, we do not love.

Of course, it is the Lord Christ whom we serve (Col. 4:24). The implications of this, however, are tremendous, for serving the Lord will necessarily mean following His example in serving others. As Jesus said, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you” (John 13:14-15).

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). We’ll come back to this passage, but let’s just start with this basic point: Jesus is the Servant, the suffering Servant, who demonstrates what it means to have the mind of a servant who loves to the point of giving Himself completely.

Are we up to the challenge of being servants? What does this take?

Love, sacrifice, and servanthood: The heart of a servant is found in the sacrifice given.

Jesus is the perfect example. “Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). What is that mind, but the mind of a servant who presented Himself as a sacrifice (see vv. 3-4, then 6-8). Notice how, in Jesus, we find the perfect harmony of love, sacrifice, and servanthood.

This is exactly what we are called to show: love, sacrifice, and servanthood. See how Paul connects these ideas in Romans 12-13. We are to be living sacrifices (vv. 1-2), who demonstrates love in our service (vv. 7-13). Then notice 13:7-10. What we owe to all men is love. This also means that what we owe is servanthood to all. This requires humble love, doing no wrong to another, seeking to do good.

See also the connection of this point to the marriage relationship in Eph. 5:22-33. Love is connected to sacrifice and servanthood. While we often stress the submission of the woman to the headship of man, we must not miss this point: the man who loves his wife as Christ loved the church will be a living sacrifice who serves His wife.

Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. Now since marriage existed from the beginning (Gen. 2:24), then marriage is intended to be a reflection of God’s relationship with His people. It is a covenant relationship in which love is expressed and unity exemplified. We live in a culture that has corrupted this. Marriage is not seen in the context of a covenant relationship with God first. It is seen as something to be manipulated for our own purposes, turned into a political issue. But the reason marriage exists at all is because God put it into place as a reflection of His holy nature.

The extent of God’s love in this desired relationship is seen in His sacrifice. We are pointing out here that the heart of a servant is found in the sacrifice given. Jesus is the true, suffering Servant. Let’s go back to Phil. 2:6-8 and ask, “Of what did Jesus empty Himself?” The answer is simply, “Himself.”

How should this characterize marriage? Marriage is not a 50/50 arrangement. It is be characterized by two people becoming one, both of whom give themselves. Not part of themselves. Not something of themselves. But themselves. Fully. Completely. Without reservation. This is the heart of servanthood. It is unselfish, willing to die to self, and treat the other as more important than self. There is no selfish ambition. There is no empty conceit. There is humility, love, and service for the interest of the other.

If we are concerned to be living sacrifices, not conformed to this world, then it needs to begin in the home, where husband and wife are living sacrifices for each other, not conformed to the worldly concepts of love and marriage, but fully engaged and committed as servants toward each other.