Jesus said in Matthew 20:26-28, â€śAnyone wanting to be a leader among you must be your servant. And if you want to be right at the top, you must serve like a slave. Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serveâ€ť (LB).
Then there is Luke 22:26, which says, â€śBut among you, the one who serves you best will be your leader.â€ť
These two verses are the foundation for Christian leadership. Jesus said the exact opposite of what the world says about what a real leader is. In the world, you build a pyramid and you climb to the top. But Jesus said, â€śNo, he who serves best leads best.â€ť
Servanthood is leadership. The better you serve, the more God raises you up to leadership.
Leadership is not a matter of getting people to serve your interests. Leadership is a matter of serving the best interests of others. Jesus said, â€śIf you want to be great, you learn to be the servant of all.â€ť
God is much more interested in why you do what you do than He is interested in what you do. Check out your heart on these:
Seven Reasons to Serve Others
1. We were created to serve others. Ephesians 2:10 says, â€śIt is God Himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago He planned that we should spend these lives in helping others.â€ť Even before you were born, God planned a life of service for you. One reason why so many people are miserable today is because theyâ€™ve missed the point of life. As I serve others, my own needs are met, and as I give my life away, I find it. You were created for service. If youâ€™re not serving somewhere, youâ€™re missing out on the very reason you were created. Thatâ€™s a mind-blower!
2. It proves that we belong to Christ. Romans 7:4 says, â€śYou are part of the body of Christ; and now you belong to Him ... in order that we might be useful in the service of Godâ€ť (GNT). God says the way you know youâ€™re a part of the body of Christ is that you serve others. Serving is the proof of our identity as members of His family.
3. We serve God by serving others. Serving others is the way to serve God. Colossians 3:23-24 says, â€śWhatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord and not for men. It is the Lord you are serving.â€ť No matter what youâ€™re doing, who are you doing it for? Youâ€™re doing it for the Lord. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus said, â€śWhat you have done for the humblest of My brothers you have done for Me.â€ť He states it positively: â€śIf you feed and cloth others, then you feed and clothe Me. If you havenâ€™t fed and clothed others, you havenâ€™t fed and clothed Me.â€ť The greatest honor is to serve the Lord.
4. We owe God everything. Romans 12:1 says, â€śBecause of Godâ€™s great mercy to us ... offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him.â€ť The reason why I serve the Lord is because of what God has done for meâ€”because of His mercy. When I think of what Jesus Christ has done for me, the sacrifice that He has made for me, there is no sacrifice that I can make for Him that will ever compare to what Heâ€™s done for me.
5. Itâ€™s the best use of our lives. First Corinthians 15:58 says, â€śKeep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lordâ€™s service is ever useless.â€ť When I go home and play with my kids, thatâ€™s as important a service as preparing a sermon. When I take out the garbage or do the dishes for Kay so she can go do something else, thatâ€™s just as significant service as when Iâ€™m speaking to crowds of leaders, because it all counts in Godâ€™s eyes.
It is the best use of my life to serve other people. If I didnâ€™t believe that, Iâ€™d get out of the pastorate and go make a million bucks somewhere. But what counts for eternity is giving your life away.
6. It makes life meaningful. Jesus said in Mark 8:35, â€śOnly those who throw away their lives for my sake and the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really liveâ€ť (LB). I donâ€™t pity people who are up to their neck in service. I happen to know that those are the people who are most alive. If youâ€™re not serving, youâ€™re not living; youâ€™re just existing. Thatâ€™s why we want to move people into the core of a purpose-driven churchâ€”because Jesus says, â€śOnly those people who are throwing their lives away for My sake and the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live.â€ť It makes life meaningful.
7. Serving will be rewarded for eternity. In John 12:26, Jesus said, â€śMy Father will honor the ones who serve Me.â€ť And in Matthew 25:21, He says, â€ťWell done, good and faithful servants. Youâ€™ve been faithful in a few things. Iâ€™ll put you in charge of many things. Come and share your masterâ€™s happiness.â€ť This life is a test. Youâ€™re being tested, and God is seeing what kind of faithfulness you have. Youâ€™re going to spend far more time on that side of eternity than you do in the years youâ€™re here. How you spend your time here is going to determine whatâ€™s going to be done with you in the next life for eternity.
Someday I want to stand before Jesus Christ and I want to hear Him say, â€śWell done, thou good and faithful servant. You were not perfect, but you did your best. You gave it your best shot. You tried to make your life count for Christ. You gave it away. You had mistakes and bloopers and did all kinds of things that were worthless, but you gave it your best shot.â€ť
At that point, when Jesus says, â€śWell done thou good and faithful servant,â€ť it will be worth it all.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book The Purpose Driven Church was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.