By John Miltenberger
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, [1 Peter 5:6; NKJV]
This morning was another adventure in prayer for me, and I have to confess I’m getting addicted to them! Stumbling down four flights of dark stairs, I arrived in my prayer chair about ready to go back to sleep, and not having any idea of where to begin, I simply asked God what was on His heart, and began to pray.
This scenario seems to be a common adventure-beginner for me, and it began immediately as I began to pray, and my prayer, surprisingly, was all about Servanthood. All this had to be God at work because as the prayer was spilling out of my mouth, my mind was asking in amazement, “What on earth is this all about?!” And as I prayed, a revelation from God began breaking in upon me…
One major context of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation is the concept of Servanthood. The scripture that kept coming to my mind while I prayed was Matthew 20:25-26, where Jesus said to His disciples:
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”
The problem we have with Servanthood is precisely because it is so doggoned servile. It’s really quite simple; we would rather be served than to serve, and in our culture it is considered demeaning to be a servant. Who takes a summer job as a janitor and decides to remain a janitor all his life? We mark a man like that down and say he has no ambition.
In our culture we elevate the concept of “getting ahead”, and the “up and comers” are treated with respect, but Jesus came into the world to serve, and it was through His service to God and man that He was ultimately given a name greater than any other. Jesus never called us to be great at anything other than to love and serve, and the door to real meekness and true humility only opens for His servants.
Like us, the Jews of Jesus’ day missed their Messiah because they were looking for the one who would lead Israel out from under the Roman boot and make Israel great. They were looking for a great, charismatic leader, not a servant. Similar to that, we’re looking for the One Who promised us a Kingdom, while missing the foundational fact He first told us to be His servants. And like meekness and humility, the door to Kingdom living only opens for servants.
I’m really getting good at giving Jesus all my life, and I do it all the time during worship and prayer…I’m just not very good at choosing to be a servant. After all that worshipful glory, Servanthood doesn’t seem very exciting, and yet, that is precisely what Jesus wants from me.
So here’s my takeaway on my latest adventure: the doors of the Kingdom open for God’s servants, and if we want to see the open doors He sets before us, and expect to successfully go through them, we must go through them as His slaves/servants, and the freedom we look for is only found through Servanthood. Only a true servant can say, “My life is no longer my own.” To say this without being a servant is nothing less than hypocrisy.
So it was that as I closed out my prayer, I asked God to help me be created anew as a servant; a servant of His, a servant of others, a servant of my church, simply a servant, every day. Whatever happens after that is His prerogative.
And I have a sneaky feeling that it is within the context of Servanthood that death loses it’s sting, the waves of life calm down and contentment awaits. While it is true that Jesus did come to serve God and man (me), it is also true that only those who serve Him will enter His Kingdom. It was always a two-way street.
No slave is greater than his master, and the real doors of the Kingdom open for the servants of Jesus. Not my rules.
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