While we all know that Jesus is Lord, he did not come to lord it over us. Instead, he said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). The kind of lordship that Jesus demonstrated was peculiar in that he had to lead by example. He translated every teaching he had into action. And this is how Jesus wanted us to serve him. We do not just give others instructions on how to live their lives, but we live it ourselves. It is only then that we can be good disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ way of leadership is contrary to the world’s way. He said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” (Mark 10:42-44). Greatness is not achieved by the power of our hands but by the love and support of those we serve. They are the ones that will lift us up and elevate us to a position of greatness. In fact, when we serve others, we are actually leading them because we are setting the pace. They will be behind us doing exactly as we are doing.
When we serve others, we are to do it in humility. This brings us to a position of strength and blessedness because “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). In the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, he showed true humility and the extent of his love when he washed the disciples’ feet. Not many would want to stoop down and wash somebody else’s feet, especially the lowliest among the brothers and sisters. They find it humiliating since the person whose feet they are washing will be looking down on them. But if we are not willing to serve others, how can we become great in the kingdom of God? How can we say that we are even willing to lay down our lives for them? Servanthood is the key to greatness as far as God is concerned.
Whether we are willing to serve or not is a matter of attitude or mindset. Again, we should emulate the attitude of Jesus. In his epistle, the apostle Paul said, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” (Phil. 2:5-7). There is a saying that it is not the aptitude but the attitude that determines our altitude. This saying is very true since servanthood is a matter of attitude of the heart more than anything else. No amount of knowledge can lift us up if we have a bad attitude. It is a fact that many who started as lowly servants eventually found themselves in high positions because they had excellent attitudes. They were able to surpass those who were better educated than them but did not have a good attitude towards their jobs. The Bible tells us that Jesus was elevated to the highest heavens and is now seated at the right hand of God because he humbled himself and served the Father faithfully.
Jesus did not only come to serve with his good works but with his own life as he offered it as a ransom for many. A ransom is an amount paid in exchange for a slave’s freedom. Indeed, many are living as slaves to sin and are destined for destruction because the penalty of sin is death. Without Jesus, they are hopeless. The Psalmist said, “No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them— the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—so that they should live on forever and not see decay” (Psalm 49:7-9). When Jesus came, he did not come with tones of silver and gold. Rather, he came with his body to be offered up to God as the ransom for sin. He is the perfect sacrifice for sin. Unlike the offering of blood of animals that had to be done year after year, Jesus offered his body once for all.
If our attitude is to serve and not to be served, all things will go well with us since we do not have high expectations of others. Because our mindset has been fixed from the outset that it us who will serve, we do not get frustrated when no one serves us. On the other hand, if it happens that someone does serve us, we will be overjoyed because we did not expect it. Therefore, just as Jesus came to serve, let us have a servant’s attitude. Let us give our best in this service just as Jesus did. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). May we all have the right attitude as we serve so that we will get to the altitude that the Lord has prepared for us. Hallelujah!