Servanthood: The Greatest Test
“But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45
The greatest test of the heart of the servant is how he or she responds when treated like one. It’s easy I suppose to play the role of a servant when we are in control of the situation or when our sacrifices are applauded and our virtuous deeds rewarded with expressions of appreciation, even more so when we know we have the option to walk away from the tasks. Everyone knows how good it feels to get an at-a-boy at the end of a job well done. But when our works are taken for granted, when our service is even demanded or assumed, if we are not truly operating from the attitude of a servant we can become discouraged, resentful, feel unappreciated and therefore recon our value diminished in the eyes of others and find ourselves thinking what we do doesn’t matter so why bother, “No one is going to notice anyway” is rthe typical response. But when we must yield our control and submit ourselves to the service of another without expectation of honor or reward, then servanthood takes on a totally different meaning.
“And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; butit shall be given to themfor whom it is prepared. And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John. Mark 10:35-41
The disciples were eager to step into the role of being considered the greatest by virtue of their good works. The world is eager to honor those of high station of greater authority and power, but the lowly ones who care for the ignoble things, who wash feet and attend tables are often ignored, forgotten or disdained. But Jesus demonstrated that in the Kingdom of God, here on earth the one who serves best is greater than the one who is served. While we are here we are servants doing the will of our Master. We may not receive the gratitude or recognition of those we serve but our Master is aware of the character and attitude of our work and will in the ages to come reward us for our faithfulness.
Whenever you are tempted to feel dishonored by the failure of others to show appreciation for your service in their behalf, be of good cheer and know that what we do for others we are doing for Jesus, we are doing in obedience to our Father and Master. He alone is the One we want to please. And having done what is expected of us should we not then say, “We are merely servants (Luke 17:10) this is what we are supposed to do.”
If our joy is sought in pleasing the Father we will have little time to lament the ingratitude of others. So rejoice when you are treated like a servant. It could be a confirmation that you are doing a great work in the Kingdom of God.