Fw: FRom THe Servant General: 12 basic principles about servanthood

This rare message is something we will not like to hear or will find easy.  We want most instructional and spiritual messages to be up-lifting or encouraging?  This message could be considered hard truth and a little bit startling.

We are all busy with things.  Yet, please take this moment to read this message all the way through and slowly.  Internalize it.  Let it help you renew your perspective on our roles in the family, community, and the Church. 
 
passing this on with best intention
CFC-FFL Brother & Sister 
Tim & Joy
On Tuesday, November 1, 2016 5:30 PM, noel garcia <dword4all@yahoo.com&gt; wrote:
We (trying to Live Christ Share Christ) are called to serve God and His Church. That is a call to servanthood. That means we are slaves (do we dislike this word?) of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. Many times we encounter difficulties in our service because we do not understand what it means to be a servant. Below are 12 basic principles about servanthood.
Principle #1: God owes us nothing, but we owe Him everything.
      Peter said to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.” (Mk 10:28). Peter thought he was doing Jesus a huge favor, and was eagerly expecting what he might get in return. Well, Jesus owes us nothing, but we owe him everything. Jesus is not in our debt (we are not creditors), but rather we are deep in debt to him. We are not doing Jesus a favor, but we are the ones afforded a great privilege. We give up everything, but do not earn anything in return.
      A servant or slave, with no rights of his own, with absolute claim by the Master, is just to give without expecting to receive. When he has done everything he has been commanded to do, he is to say that he is an unprofitable servant, doing only what he was obliged to do.
Principle #2: When we serve, we must be ready to give up everything for God.
      A servant is one “who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for (Jesus’) sake and for the sake of the gospel” (Mk 10:29). This means that Jesus and his work, that of proclaiming the gospel, come first. This means that a servant is not to allow the priorities of family or secular work to come before the greater priority of God’s work.
      Jesus of course does not deny us the blessing of family and secular livelihood. But God comes first, and together with that comes the work of the Kingdom. We serve God and not ourselves. Now when we do so and when we prioritize God, then everything else will fall into place.
      A servant gives up good things for the sake of a higher righteousness.
Principle #3: When we serve and give up everything, we will be tremendously blessed.
      Does it mean a servant is destined for a life of thankless service? Perish the thought. God is never outdone in generosity. A servant will “receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands” (Mk 10:30a). What we give up, God returns a hundredfold!
      One leaves the comfort of his home to do mission, but is welcomed into many homes throughout the world, being hospitably treated as family. One leaves close relatives in order to serve, but has many more brothers and sisters in the Lord. One doing kids or youth ministry will spend less time with his own children, but will be privileged to positively affect the lives of many more kids and youth placed in his care. One leaves one’s homeland, but is able to claim many more lands for the Kingdom.
      A servant knows that what he empties, God will fill up, what he gives up, God will restore, but even more. The more he gives away, the more he has!
Principle #4: Persecutions come with service.
      Jesus says that we will receive bountiful blessings, but “with persecutions” (Mk 10:30b). To serve Jesus is to do the very work of God. When we do this, then we come against the enemy, who has dominion over the world. We enter into spiritual warfare. Since we face a formidable enemy, we will be bruised, battered and bloodied. Since we work in a world dominated by the evil one, we can expect to be oppressed and persecuted.
      When persecutions happen, we should rejoice. It means the enemy thinks highly of our work to want to oppress us. It means we walk the very path of Jesus, the path of the cross. It means we encounter the inscrutable ways of God by which we are purified, so that we can attain to greater holiness.
      Nothing, no matter how seemingly bad, can ever dampen the spirit of a true servant!
Principle #5: The first will be last.
      Jesus says, “many that are first will be last” (Mk 10:31a). A leader is up there, first in line, looked up to. But the Christian leader is a servant. The greatest needs to become the least. Those who have been graced and greatly blessed by God are to expend themselves in order to serve others.
      A servant knows that he follows the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Master of all, but who expended himself in humble service. A servant is privileged to do the same.
Principle #6: The last will be first.
      Jesus says that “the last will be first” (Mk 10:31b). The servant is the least and the lowest. But those brought low are the ones to be raised up by Jesus. Those who count for nothing are those whom God will use. Those who are emptied of self will be those who will be filled with grace by God. Those who expend themselves for the service of others will be the first in line to receive the crown of glory.
      A servant is able to humble and even demean himself, knowing that such a one is whom Jesus himself will raise and extol.
Principle #7: The ultimate reward of a servant is eternal life.
      To the one who serves, Jesus promises “eternal life in the age to come” (Mk 10:30c). The servant knows that he serves a divine Master, who awaits him in heaven. Life on earth might be greatly difficult and full of pain, but he knows he goes to a place where there are no more tears but only peace and joy. We suffer but for a short while, so that we might spend eternity with God in heaven. With heaven to look forward to, a servant can endure all hardships!
      There is no greater call than to be a servant of the Lord Jesus. Because we serve the One who gave his all out of great love for us, the servant can expect that only good can come out of his serving God. It might not seem that way at times. Spiritual realities are often hidden. We can only serve in faith.
      To serve the Lord will involve joys and sorrows, ups and downs, blessings and curses, consolation and desolation, gain and pain. This is simply the way of the Master whom a servant follows, as Jesus, who is “the Son of Man” will be handed over to people who “will mock him, spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death” (Mk 10:33-34). Now if we know what awaits us as we serve the Lord, then well and good. We will not be disappointed, discouraged or frustrated.
Principle #8: Know the relationship between servant and Master.
      We need to know the proper relationship between the servant and the Master. The roles should be clear enough in the titles. One is a servant, who merely obeys, and the other is the Master, who commands. Sometimes we have it backwards, as James and John did. They said to Jesus, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” (Mk 10:35). What? The servants are dictating to their Master?
      How often do we ask things of Jesus, even to the point of demanding? How often do we expect things of Jesus, to the point of being disappointed with him when we do not get what we want? But this posture is indeed the path to disappointment. Why? Because we, with our fallen nature, often desire what God deems not proper or good for us. But God, who loves us and has a wonderful plan for us, fortunately is not dictated to, and will do for us only what will be for our good.
Principle #9: Look not to glory.
      The servant is not to look to glory, for glory only belongs to the Master. James and John said to Jesus, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” (Mk 10:37). Servants sit at the feet of the Master, way down there, and not beside him, way up there. Only one is good, only one is God, only one is Lord and Master, and it is not us. The position of a servant is a lowly one, but it is what reflects the glory of the Master.
Principle #10: There will be joys … and suffering.
      For the servant there indeed will be joys and sorrows, but for the moment, what we can only look forward to with assurance is the cup of suffering. Jesus told James and John, “The cup that I drink, you will drink, …. but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give” (Mk 10:39-40a). We follow One who had no place to lay his head. Jesus does not beguile us into becoming his servants by promises of blessings and glory. He bares the truth of servanthood. It will be difficult. It will involve pain, perhaps lots of it. 
      Right off, Jesus prepares the servant for a life of authentic service, in the way that Jesus himself served. He hardly had time to rest, he missed his meals, he was misunderstood and mistreated. If a servant went into Jesus’ service with expectations of glory, he would not be of much use to the Master, and in fact could himself give up quickly when the trials and tribulations come.
Principle #11: We look to eternal reward.
      Although the outlook seems bleak, in that there is suffering and pain, Jesus is actually priming the servant for what is of true value, that of eternal reward. What Jesus offers right off is hard and sometimes “unrewarding” work, but there indeed is glory to come, “for those for whom it has been prepared.” (Mk 10:40b). Did not Jesus tell us that where he is bringing us there are many mansions. Those mansions have some of our names on them!
Principle #12: We take the lowest place.
      When the ten other apostles heard what was going on, “they became indignant at James and John.” (Mk 10:41). Now they were not indignant because they fully understood servanthood and rued the wrong posture of the two. On the contrary, they also had dreams of glory in mind, but James and John beat them to it!
      So Jesus took the occasion to teach them about true servanthood. Jesus said, “whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” (Mk 10:43b-44). Glory is in serving. Greatness is in taking the lowest place. The first is the last. The leader is the servant.
      This is so contrary to the ways of the world, where “those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt.” (Mk 10:42). Many times, such secular thinking spills over into Christian service. Servant leaders need to hear the Lord speak to them over and over, saying, “But it shall not be so among you.” (Mk 10:43a).
      In fact, as we follow in the footsteps of our Master Jesus, we see that “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk 10:45). The greatest of all, God Himself, to whom all the angels minister in His court, whom all nature and creatures acclaim, came as a lowly human in order to serve. And Jesus not only served, he gave his very life. That was the ultimate service. When one offers his life, there is nothing more to give.
      Jesus’ words about the cup that is to be drunk may be intimidating at first for those who aspire to be his servants. “They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.” (Mk 10:32b). But when we understand his words, then we see the beauty and splendor of following him, and the great privilege of being his servant. Jesus went ahead to Jerusalem, where the cross, and the glory, awaited him. That is where we will be going as well. “They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went ahead of them.” (Mk 10:32a).
*     *     *
God bless you all.

Frank Padilla
LCSC Moderator

“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21)

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