Skip to main content

Cultivating a Servant’s Heart


Slander is worse than cannibalism.“ ~ Saint John Chrysostom

In today’s 1st Reading (Jeremiah 18:18-20) the prophet Jeremiah encounters an angry mob of Israelites, one intent on using his own words against him, to slander him, perhaps even put him to death if all else fails. Jeremiah’s message to them was one of repentance and it was delivered out of love, yet the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem could only conjure up resentment for him in their hearts, resorting to the previously aforementioned evil and underhanded tactics.

There certainly seems to be a lot of slander and false witness being tossed about in our world today. The political landscape naturally comes to mind when this topic is broached, but we too must remember to be impeccable with our words, careful not to spread lies and misconceptions about others. “If slander be a snake,” Douglas William Jerrold once said, “it is a winged one, for it flies as well as it creeps.” There’s an old Hebrew Proverb that reminds us that “Slander is more deadly than weapons; weapons wound from close range, slander hurts from a distance.“

In a day and age when information hurdles about far too quickly and at times rather recklessly, when it is very easy to fire off hasty and half-baked Facebook Comments or Tweets, it’s worthwhile to reflect upon this in our own lives.

Jeremiah would not be the first nor certainly the last prophet to face the wrath of an unforgiving, bloodthirsty mob. A prophet far greater than he would of course go on to suffer a far more ghastly fate, a fate we will commemorate on Good Friday. Human nature, fallen and sinful, unfortunately does not change.

The Christian message is startlingly good news. God Himself came to Earth so that we can turn back to him by way of the example of the very life he lived, a life encapsulated perfectly in today’s Gospel (Matthew 20:17-28).

“The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life for many,” Jesus proclaims in the closing words of this passage. When we serve instead of demanding to be served, following in Jesus’ footsteps as it were, we give God the opening to shape our hearts so that we can better emulate his Son. We in essence usher in the kingdom of heaven, where God will be forever glorified (Revelation 15:4), because it is only through the fostering of a servant’s heart that we truly reflect God’s undying love to the people he has put in our lives, giving genuine witness to the Gospel. Through the Lenten disciplines of praying for others, fasting and almsgiving, we emulate the Master, He who humbled himself to share in our humanity.

Scroll to Continue

…He who became poor so that we could be rich,

“I am the light of the world says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.” ~ John 8:12

We adore you O Christ and we praise you; for by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.”


Patrick44 (author) on March 15, 2020:

Thank you for reading it.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on March 11, 2020:

Interesting reading. Thanks.

Related Articles