How Real Servants Think
Pastor Rick Warren
- To be a servant you must think like a servant.
My servant Caleb
thinks differently and follows me completely. Num. 14:24 (NCV)
yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. Phil. 2:5 (Msg)
requires a mental shift, a change in your attitudes. God is always more interested
in why we do something than in what we do. Attitudes count more than achievements.
King Amaziah lost Gods favor because "He did what was right in the sight of the
Lord, yet not with a true heart." Real servants serve God with a mindset of five
Real Servants are Self-Forgetful
They focus on
others, not themselves. This is true humility: not thinking less of ourselves
but thinking of ourselves less. Paul said, Forget yourselves long enough to lend
a helping hand. This is what it means to "lose your life"- forgetting yourself
in service to others. When we stop focusing on our needs, we become aware of the
needs around us.
Jesus "emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant."
When was the last time you emptied yourself for someone elses benefit? You cant
be a servant if youre full of yourself. Its only when we forget ourselves that
we do the things that deserve to be remembered.
Unfortunately, a lot of
our service is often self-serving. We serve to get others to like us, to be admired,
or to achieve our own goals. That is manipulation, not ministry. All the time
were really thinking about ourselves and how noble and wonderful we are. Some
people try to use service as a bargaining tool with God: "Ill do this for you
God, if youll do something for me." Real servants dont try to use God for their
purposes. They let God use them for His purposes.
The quality of self-forgetfulness,
like faithfulness, is extremely rare. Out of all the people Paul knew, Timothy
was the only example he could point to. Thinking like a servant is difficult because
it challenges the basic problem of my life: I am, by nature, selfish. I think
most about me. Thats why humility is a daily struggle, a lesson I must relearn
over and over. The opportunity to be a servant confronts me dozens of times a
day where Im given the choice to decide between meeting my needs or the needs
of others. Self-denial is the core of servanthood.
We can measure our servants
heart by how we respond when others treat us like servants. How do you react when
youre taken for granted, bossed around, or treated as an inferior? The Message
paraphrase of Matthew 5:41 says, If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use
the occasion to practice the servant life.
Real Servants Think Like
Stewards, Not Owners
They remember God owns it all. In the Bible, a
steward was a servant entrusted to manage an estate. Joseph was this kind of servant
as a prisoner in Egypt. First, Potiphar entrusted Joseph with his home. Then the
jailer entrusted Joseph with his jail. Eventually Pharaoh entrusted the entire
nation to him. Servanthood and stewardship go together since God expects us to
be trustworthy in both. The Bible says, The one thing required of such servants
is that they be faithful to their master. How are you handling the resources God
has entrusted to you?
To become a real servant, youre going to have to
settle the issue of money in your life. Jesus said, "No servant can serve two
masters... You cannot serve both God and Money." He didnt say, "You shouldnt
serve both," but "You cannot." It is impossible. Living for ministry and living
for money are mutually exclusive goals. Which one will you choose? If youre a
servant of God you cant moonlight for yourself. All your time belongs to God.
He insists on exclusive allegiance, not part-time faithfulness.
the greatest potential to replace God in your life. More people are sidetracked
from serving by materialism than anything else. They say, "After I achieve my
financial goals, Im going to serve God." That is a foolish decision they will
regret for eternity. When Jesus is your Master, money serves you, but if money
is your master, you become its slave. Wealth is certainly not a sin, but failing
to use it for Gods glory is. Real servants are more concerned about ministry
The Bible is very clear: God uses money to test your faithfulness
as a servant. Thats why Jesus talked more about money than he did about either
heaven or hell. He said, If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly
wealth, who will trust you with true riches? How you manage your money affects
how much God can bless your life.
I believe people usually fall into one
of two categories: Kingdom Builders and Wealth Builders.
Both are gifted
at making a business grow, making deals or sales, and making a profit.
Builders continue to amass wealth for themselves no matter how much they make.
Kingdom Builders change the rules of the game. They still try to make as
much money as they can but they do it in order to give it away. They use the wealth
to fund Gods church and its mission in the world.
At Saddleback church,
we have a group of CEOs and business owners who are trying to make as much as
they can, so they can give as much as they can to further the kingdom of God.
I encourage you to talk with your pastor and begin a Kingdom Builders group in
Real Servants Think About Their Own Responsibilities, Not
What Other Servants are Doing
They dont compare, criticize, or compete
with other servants or ministries. Theyre too busy doing the work God has given
Competition between Gods servants is illogical for many reasons:
were all on the same team, our goal is to make God look good, not ourselves,
weve been given different assignments, and were all uniquely shaped. Paul said,
We will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and
another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each
of us is an original.
Theres no place for petty jealousy between servants.
When youre busy serving, you dont have time to be critical. Any time spent criticizing
others is time that could have been spent ministering. When Martha complained
to Jesus that Mary was not helping with the work, she lost her servants heart.
Real servants dont complain of unfairness, dont have pity-parties, and dont
resent those not serving. They just trust God and keep serving.
our job to evaluate the Masters other servants. The Bible says, Who are you to
criticize someone else's servant? The Lord will determine whether his servant
has been successful. Its also not our job to defend ourselves against criticism.
Let your Master handle it. Follow the example of Moses who showed true humility
in the face of opposition, as did Nehemiah, whose response to critics was simply,
My work is too important to stop now and visit with you.
If you serve like
Jesus, you can expect to be criticized. The world, and even much of the church,
does not understand what God values. The disciples criticized one of the most
beautiful acts of love shown to Jesus. Mary took the most valuable thing she owned,
expensive perfume, and poured it over Jesus. Her lavish service was called "a
waste" by the disciples, but Jesus called it "significant," and thats all that
mattered. You service for Christ is never wasted, regardless of what others say.
Real Servants Base Their Identity in Christ
they are unconditionally loved and accepted by grace, so they dont have to prove
their worth when they are threatened by lowly jobs. Most of us are too insecure
to be servants. Were afraid our weaknesses and insecurities will be uncovered
so we hide them with layers of protective pride and pretensions.
the most profound examples of serving from a secure self-image is Jesus washing
the feet of his disciples. Washing feet was the equivalent of being a shoeshine
boy, a job devoid of status. But Jesus knew who he was, so it didnt threaten
or bother him to do it.
The Bible says Jesus knew that the Father had put
all things under his power, and that he had come from God...so he got up from
the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist...
If youre going to be a servant you must settle your identity in Christ.
Only secure people can serve. The more insecure you are, the more youll want
people to serve you, and the more youll need their approval. On the other hand,
when you base your worth and identity on your relationship to Christ, you are
freed from the expectation of others. You are freed to serve.
dont need to cover their walls with plaques and awards to validate their work.
They dont insist on being addressed by titles and they dont wrap themselves
in robes of superiority. Servants find status symbols unnecessary and they never
measure their worth by their achievements. Paul said, You may brag about yourself,
but the only approval that counts is the Lord's approval.
If anyone had
the chance of a lifetime to flaunt his connections and "name-drop," it was James,
the half-brother of Jesus. He had the credentials of growing up with Jesus as
his brother. Yet in introducing his letter, he simply referred to himself as "a
servant of God and the Lord Jesus." The closer you get to Jesus, the less you
need to promote yourself.
Real Servants Think of Ministry as an Opportunity,
Not an Obligation
They enjoy helping people, meeting needs, and doing
ministry. They "serve the Lord with gladness." Why do we serve with gladness?
Because we love the Lord, were grateful for his grace, we know serving is the
highest use of life, and God has promised a reward. Jesus promised, The Father
will honor and reward anyone who serves me. And Paul added, He will not forget
how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring
for other Christians.
Imagine what could happen if just 10% of all Christians
in the world got serious about their role of being a real servant. Imagine all
the good that could be done. Are you willing to be one of those people? Albert
Schweitzer said, "The only really happy people are those have learned how to serve."
More from Rick Warren on Spiritual Life
More Church and Ministry
More Ministry Resources
More from Spiritual Life
The Ministry ToolBox is for ANYONE serving Jesus Christ. For a free subscription,
you can sign up at www.pastors.com.
your copy of The Purpose Driven Life at Shop CBN
your copy of The Purpose Driven Church
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.