Scripture calls us to serve others in love as Galatians 5:13 says, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” The servant’s heart means to help others in love without expecting something in return, serving in appreciation of the gifts God has already given us. May the Servant’s Heart inspire you to serve others and God with humility, love, and compassion.
The rural church pastor and leaders have wonderful opportunities to serve in the small local community that they are living in. Exhibiting the compassion and love of Christ around you. There are people in need all around you that need you to show and exercise those gifts because of the great amount of brokenness and hurt that dominates our small towns and communities.
Having a servant’s heart means to not only put other’s needs ahead of our own, but to serve with the right motivation—and that is to put God’s will first. Rewards, recognition or even gratitude cannot be the motivation to live out true servanthood the way Jesus did. Leadership is not about being in charge, leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.
The individuals in “The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard” (vv.1-16) who had been working the longest during the day had a hard time understanding why it was fair that those who had been working far less than they had, earned the same pay and got paid sooner. Why should someone who has only worked an hour get paid the same as someone who has worked 10 hours? Why should the person who has worked 10 hours have to stand in line to wait to get paid behind the person who has only worked one?
Servitude is something we can all struggle with. It’s hard to place others above ourselves. But this parable is a critical part of New Testament theology – the last will be first, and the first will be last. This is the concept that those who selflessly sacrifice in this world will be rewarded in the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus makes this calling to live a life of service to others explicit in verses 20-28 when He answers a question about how to gain His favor in heaven. Instead of demanding glory, riches, and praises in the world, Christ does what we have seen and will see Him do time and again throughout the gospels – proclaim the importance of sacrifice, pleading with this world to follow His lead to seek to serve others, and not one’s self.
True love is like a two-sided coin. With the one side showing love the other side bears sacrifice. There can not be a true expression of love without sacrifice. There is the giving of one’s self. To love someone there must be the giving of “you” to the “recipient” of the love. The perfect scriptural example of this is John 3:16, “For God so LOVED the world, that He GAVE His only begotten Son…
What does it mean to have a servant heart?
To answer the question, “what does it mean to have a servant heart,” we must first learn what a servant is. A servant is a person who meets the needs of others. A servant is an individual who puts themselves under submission to another. A servant is different from a slave in that a servant’s loyalty to one’s master is voluntary, but a slave’s is not.
1. Use Jesus as your model: Jesus was the greatest servant of all “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) “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6-7)
2. If we want to be great, we must be least “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35) “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
God’s kingdom operates differently from our earthly hierarchical structures. Greatness in God’s kingdom does not come from occupying positions of power or being praised by men. God is more interested in a servant heart and our attitude toward others. “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,” (Matthew 20:26)
3. We show our love for God by loving others “This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13)
4. Consider Others Before Yourself “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
5. Use your gifts in order to serve “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” (1 Peter 4:10)
Use your gifts, your leadership, and your purpose to help others and give God the glory for it. Making God shine in the eyes of others. Its not about me, its not about us, its about God and Him receiving the glory and honor for everything that is done for the Kingdom.
Church remember we are in Kingdom work for the glory of God the Father.
Pastor Rob Beckett, Shepherdsville First Church of the Nazarene. “Restoring the ‘Image of God’ to the broken and hurting.”