I have been challenged lately by what motivates me to do things. What is the condition of my heart? Why do I do the things I do? For whom do I do these things?
I am challenged by this verse: “Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself…” (Philippians 2:5-11, The Message) How did Christ think of himself? “(He) made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant… (Philippians 2:7, NIV).
This is what challenges me. The problem is I tend to think more of myself then I do of others - it seems to go against my nature. Thinking like a servant is difficult. It challenges the basic problem of my life - by nature, I am selfish.There are 5 thoughts that I have to continually keep mediating on. These thoughts are:
1)Servants think more of others than themselves*: “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4, NAS). Often, we try to get others to like to us, to be admired or to achieve our goals - this is being self-serving. Check your motives. When you serve, it won’t always be convenient or fit in your schedule.
2)Servants think like stewards, not owners*: “The one thing required of such servants is that they be faithful to their master” (1 Corinthians 4:2, TEV). The gifts, abilities and talents God has given us are not ours; God owns them. He specifically created us and gifted us for a purpose that is greater then you and greater than me. Are you using your gifts and talents for his purpose, for his kingdom?
3)Servants think about their work, not what others are doing*: “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” (Galatians 5:26, The Message). I know it is easy to look at other people and see what they are doing. It is easy to compare ourselves and compete with others’ ministries. But I am not responsible for what that other person is doing. I am only responsible for what I have been called to do, for what I am equipped to do. I need to simply trust God and keep serving.
4)Servants base their identity in Christ*: “Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron” (John 13:3, The Message). If you are going to be a servant, the first thing you must settle is your identity. For me, this is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Especially as I made the transition from being a leader as a real estate agent to a support role as a pastor. I was afraid, and still am, of exposing my weaknesses and short-comings. When your identity is based on your relationship with Christ, then you are free from others’ expectations.
5)Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation*: “Serve the LORD with gladness” (Psalm 100:2, King James Version). When I was growing up, I had a pastor who always said: “We serve because we want too, not because we have too.” I like to buy my wife flowers and candy because she likes those things. But if I really want to show her I love her I cook supper for her, clean the house and do laundry. I do those things not because it is my job or that I have too, but because I love my wife and she can see that I love her by doing those things. Your service should flow out of a love you have for the Lord - not out of an obligation.
To be a servant - I need to change my thinking. To be a servant - I need to change my motives. To be a servant - I need change my actions. And to be a servant - I need to start acting like one.
* The Five Points are Taken from Rick Warren’s book, “Purpose Driven Life” but the comments are mine.