How does a soldier returning from a war zone feel when someone says to him “Thank you for your service”? He will probably feel gratified as he had served a purpose.
Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant (Philippians 2:1-11)
Jesus taught us about service not just in abstract, but He embodied what He taught.
Paul understood this and applied it to the life of a church in Philippians 2. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better [or more important] than yourself” (Phil. 2:3). Practically, this means that we “must not look out for our own interests, but also be concerned with the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).
It is easy to become preoccupied with our own self-interests, our own concerns and agendas as what we desire and value often seems more important than anything else. Those who follow Christ cannot make self the highest good or , we will never care for others. Ultimately, a life ruled by self-interest is devilish, demonic, and inhuman. James wrote:
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. (James 3:13-16)
Do we manifest a “I am here for what I can get out of it” mentality? Our first priority is to serve God. And we serve God best by serving others, just as Jesus did. This is particularly important for leaders to recognize as our ego may demand titles, importance, recognition, applause, and approval. It has been said that , “Many leaders are driven by their own inner needs and anxieties: they must draw applause; they must continually [meet their] needs; they must be recognized.”
Because of this danger, we need to actively pursue the attitude of Christ – “humility of mind” (Phil. 2:3a 5). We are not to “think too highly of ourselves” (Romans 12:3) but to “consider others better than ourselves.”
Do we know if we have the mind of Christ? “Let the same mind [or attitude] be in you that was in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.
Paul reminds us,how Jesus thought about himself. Paul writes, “Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited” (Phil. 2:6) for his own advantage. He used it for the welfare of others.
“He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:7). Jesus did not abandon his divinity but emptied himself of divine attributes and glory into servanthood. He took the lowest place. As a human, he became inferior to God. As a servant, he became inferior to other humans in rank and ss a criminal, he became inferior to even servant ( Phil. 2:7-8).
In Jesus, the sovereign Master of all became the Servant of all. He gave up everything – including life itself – for the sake of others. In his incarnation, the Son refused to exercise the privileges due to him because of his exalted status, but instead, he willingly took the lowest place in order to benefit all those who would follow him. He “willingly suffered.” He expressed love at all costs, claiming no “special privilege.” He did this in order to serve humanity at its greatest point of need.
When we serve as Christ did, our actions are godly, worshipful, holy. Christ’s leadership was not revealed in display of superiority and power but in humility, weakness, self-giving, self-emptying service–things viewed by the world as signs of weakness rather than strength. His power was the service of divine love.
We follow Jesus by welcoming a life of service to others without regard to cost, placing ourselves in the vulnerable position of giving our lives for the good of others.
It is said that the difference between heaven and hell – both now and in the future – boils down to this: People of heaven serve others. People of hell serve only themselves.
Serving others is good for all. Serving one’s self leads only to misery, despair, and loneliness. It is not good for others, and for the self. It shrinks the soul. It fails to reflect God’s glory – the glory revealed in Christ through his humble, self-giving service.
Are we serving in His image, to hear Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant ?