To serve or be served! It is the essence of living. I guess one could be both in different areas of one’s life, but I tend to believe that it’s either one way or the other, overall. This is what all mankind must decide between. It shapes our days, impacts our joy or lack thereof. It affects our priorities, schedules, and purpose. It starts as a child. One only has to observe your children or others at a very early age to see the selfishness in most every aspect of their life. Some of us never grow out of it. Parental discipline, instruction and discipleship is that which alters it for a fruitful life.
Think about your marriage, parenting, work, time, and even your financial decisions. How are they shaped by your mindset of serving or being served? Am I a servant-leader in my arena of life, or am I a leader who must be served? Makes a world of difference in all your choices and decisions. It has been pointed out that the middle letter of sin is ‘I’, and the middle letter of pride is ‘I’. It’s not a recent phenomena. You see in Genesis 3 where our first parents were tempted in three ways. The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. They eventually gave in to their free will, to be the master of their kingdom. They wanted it to be all about them. I would ask, don’t we?
It’s a constant struggle in virtually every thought, action and decision in life. There is this innate longing to get what you deserve, even if it means hurting others. Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, addresses this issue. “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (vs. 4.5) See what Paul is saying? His preaching was not to call attention to himself and to receive honor and glory and financial rewards as some were doing at that time, even in the name of Jesus. What he was preaching was Jesus Christ, and he was showing them that he was coming as their slave or servant, and it wasn’t about him; it was about Jesus. Can we say the same? The real question is, why am I doing what I do in any circumstance?
Jesus addressed it succinctly when he was with his disciples in the upper room at his Passover meal with them. After he had washed their feet (they should have washed his earlier), he made a statement for all time. It’s the manual for living humbly, fruitfully, abundantly!
“Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (Jn. 13.12a-16)
To serve or be served! Could it be any clearer?