WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 12, 2022
TOPIC: JESUS WAS A SERVANT!
BY T. O. BANSO
“And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— ‘just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many’” (Matthew 20:27-28 New King James Version)
Everybody prays to be great in life. It is the desire of many people to be leaders. While some people genuinely aspire to lead to make a change, many people’s desire is borne out of the honour and prestige of the office and the other benefits they will enjoy. The understanding of leadership several people have is that of others serving them – they have many people at their beck and call day and night. They think being a leader means enjoyment or pleasure. To them, it means that everybody does everything for them. Their understanding is faulty.
This is why some people aspire to political leadership and after they succeed, they fail to perform in office. They lack the understanding of what the offices they occupy entail and the demands. They’re only interested in the perquisites and other benefits, not the discharge of the responsibilities. They like the titles but fail in the duties. Society suffers a lot from the incompetence and non-performance of such leaders.
But where leaders understand that leadership is service and leaders are servants, society is transformed. The lives of the people are greatly impacted. There is growth and development. Such leaders do not enrich themselves at the expense of the people or use their offices only to improve their lives and the lives of their family members and cronies. This is true in politics, business, ministry, and society generally.
It is unfortunate today that not many people who aspire to leadership positions really want to serve. They consider being a servant demeaning. But Jesus Christ was a servant! He didn’t consider it humiliating to serve rather than to be served. And He showed this as an example for His followers to emulate.
In Matthew 20:25-26, Jesus called His disciples and told them that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who were great exercised authority over them. But He said it would not be so among them. According to Him, whoever desired to become great among them must be their servant. “And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— ‘just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many’” (Matthew 20:27-28 New King James Version). This was part of Jesus’ reply to the mother of Zebedee’s sons, James and John, who had come to Jesus to ask that her two sons would sit one on His right hand and the other on the left in His kingdom.
Did you see that from Jesus’s reply He was a servant? And He remains the first. Mark 10:42-45 also records these words of Jesus. Similarly, in Mark 9:35, Jesus said to His disciples in response to the dispute among them earlier on who would be the greatest, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all!” (New King James Version). If you want to lead others, serve them. You must lead from the front. You must work for them, not sit somewhere and be enjoying while the people are like sheep without a shepherd.
Leadership is both a privilege and a burden. That’s why it’s said that uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. But what many people love is to be chauffeur-driven and fly all over the world, enjoying themselves, not serving the people. They love the titles but are not prepared to do the job.
The path to greatness is service and not by bossing people around. It is not by presenting yourself as superior to others. it is not by shying away from responsibilities. Elisha the son of Shaphat is described in 2 Kings 3:11 as one who poured water on the hands of Elijah. In other words, Elisha was Elijah’s servant. This was despite the seeming relatively wealthy background of Elisha (1 Kings 19:19-21).
The Bible does not tell us how many years he served Elijah during his training but he served so faithfully that he received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit and became a great prophet after Elijah was taken into heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:9-15). Elisha is believed to have performed twice as many miracles as Elijah.
A leader must be a servant to all. This biblical leadership model of Jesus is, in modern parlance, called servant-leadership. Luke 22:25-27 puts the words of Jesus on His leadership model, in response to the dispute among His disciples, thus: “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves” (New King James Version).
Whether it is in the church or in the world, always practise the leadership model of Jesus. Lead by serving. Imbibe His spirit of leadership and lead as a servant. Jesus came as a servant. Don’t aspire to leadership so that you can be served but to serve. Don’t seek leadership or any office for selfish reasons. A leader is a servant to all. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7 New King James Version).
Make yourself of no reputation and serve. Jesus served and laid down His life. He gave His life a ransom for many. 1 Timothy 2:6 says the man Christ Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Serving does not reduce you. When you serve the people well, they will serve you in return, and even more.
Jesus was a servant. In Isaiah’s prophecy about the Messiah, Jesus is called “My Servant” (Isaiah 42:1). Jesus said in John 6:38 that He had come down from heaven, not to do His will, but the will of Him who sent Him. Don’t seek to be served; serve. Serve diligently, knowing that when you serve people, you also serve God.
Jesus is our perfect example of serving. In John 13, Jesus rose from the supper and washed His disciples’ feet – a rite of hospitality in Jewish homes that was performed by servants. After Jesus had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:12-14 New King James Version). Washing of the feet of His disciples did not diminish Jesus as the Messiah.
Whether in the church or outside, make sure you serve. Greatness is found in servanthood. Jesus emptied himself; He made Himself as nothing (made Himself of no reputation) and took the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7). Emulate Him. He is your perfect example.
It takes humility to serve. Empty yourself of pride and whatever will hinder you from serving. Serve people out of love, not because of what you want to benefit from them. Someone said, “The measure of a man is not the number of his servants, but the number of people he serves.” Jesus was a servant; He didn’t boss people around. Be a servant.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I will serve You this year and serve my superiors, subordinates, and colleagues. Holy Spirit, help me not to do eye service but serve wholeheartedly and faithfully, knowing that I will receive the reward from You. Deliver me from anything that will hinder me from serving.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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