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Anyone Who Wants to Be First Must Be the Very Last, and the Servant of All...

Reformed Eve is a daughter of God, which makes her royalty - no matter what the world throws at her. She straightens her crown quite often.

Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all...

The secular world believes that leadership that has its root deep in the servant aspect is weak and paternalistic in nature. They believe that it limits power. They believe that it removes respect and obedience out of the equation, but they could not be further from the truth. Mark 9:35 NIV mentions this: “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 NIV) It’s difficult to fulfill the servant role in ministry because people, since the beginning, want to emulate God in such a way that they want to become God. As soon as a person wants to be a servant, a strange feeling of weakness, pride and superiority try to take center stage. These feelings make us forget that being a servant isn’t about ourselves, but about doing God’s will and having people see God through you and your actions. If an individual cannot learn how to do things for God, no one will be able to see God’s fulfillment through people.

“A servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first, helps individuals develop and optimize performance, is willing to learn from others, and forsakes personal advancement and rewards. Servant leaders concentrate on performance planning, day-to-day coaching, and helping people achieve. They provide vision, and their team understands their expectations and desired outcomes. The ultimate responsibility of the servant leader is the enduring investment of the leader’s life in the lives of those who follow.” [1] Many feel that this kind of leadership is almost impossible in an environment that demands fast-paced action, laced with competition, and require a great amount of risk. Even though being a servant leader, as mentioned earlier, is influenced by a desire to serve, one has to ask themselves who they are truly serving.

To be a servant in ministry, one has to change their thinking. One has to dare to be different in regards to defining what a servant is.

“My servant Caleb thinks differently and follows me completely.” (Numbers 14:24 NCV)

“Think of yourself the way Jesus Christ thought of himself.” (Philippians 2:5 MSG)

These verses, just a few regarding servanthood in ministry within the Bible, show how paramount it is to shift one’s mental attitude regarding servanthood. Truly study the motive behind wanting to be a servant. Even though an individual is in ministry, one cause lose God’s favor, much like King Amaziah did because the king “did what was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a true heart.” (2nd Chronicles 25:2) To be a true servant, one has to almost practice, and be inspired, to forget themselves in the process. They understand what it is to be ready to lay their life down for another, and not just say it to gain attention or admiration from others. To avoid manipulation in place of ministry, a leader or minister has to stop with the thinking of bargaining with God. Many people want to tell God that they will be a servant, “if” He does a special favor for him. This is not true servanthood. Another measure of being a true servant is being aware of how one reacts when others around are being disrespectful. Our human flight-or-flight adrenaline response may put the individual into immediate defense mode, or even a ‘shut down’ mode. The first thought would not be to emulate servant-like behavior.

A person cannot serve two masters. There has to be true love for ministry, instead of true love for money. That love for money translates to idolatry, and this is dangerous territory. When Jesus is the center of the goals and ministry, money because a means to serve the minister. Without Jesus, money takes the struggling individual as their slave. The most beautiful example of this is when Mary used a very precious perfume to cover Jesus with it. The disciples considered this a waste of expensive ointment, but Jesus knew that the intent behind the gesture was so much more amazing than the disciples could feel. She did it out of pure love, knowing that Jesus was worth far more than the oil, but yet, he was deserving of all she had. To Jesus, the gesture was significant, regardless of what others had to say. Even if others feel that service for Jesus is a complete waste of time, it’s not. To Jesus, being a servant is being like Him, and he wants his followers to use him as an example of how to lead and exist on Earth.

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To be a true servant, one has to be sure of themselves and who they are. This is important, because insecure people may have this deep desire to be needed, liked, and approved by others. They may accidentally fall into the ‘self’ to where the center is no longer Jesus. Jesus did wash the feet of his disciples, and this didn’t lessen Jesus’s status. He knew exactly who he was, so he was not made to feel like ‘lower-class’. He was clear in his identity and was not bothered or made to feel insignificant to do something for someone else. Most people have their worth based on material things or the opinions of others. When Jesus is the center, one is free of the pedestals that the world wants to elevate people on, knowing full well they will fail. When one puts their faith and worth in Christ, they are free to be servants. Ministry, to these servants, is a beautiful opportunity. They do not consider it an obligation, and that is a major difference between a servant leader and a secular leader within the ministry. True happiness comes from being a true servant.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Reformed Eve

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