When I was a much younger man, thinking of servants conjured up a picture of someone like a butler or a maid; someone who is in the employ of a rich family. As I grew older, I realized there is a broad range of people whose occupations could fall under the heading of servant. We talk about public servants such as elected officials, those who work in governments or law enforcement or fire fighters. Simply put, we think of people who serve other people.
When we look in the scriptures, we see many examples of servants. The greatest example of a servant is Jesus Himself. He states in Matthew 20:28 that he “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (NASB). He came to serve the will of His father and in the process served all mankind by humbling Himself and sacrificing His life to buy our freedom from sin.
If one thinks himself to be above the role of a servant, he has much to learn about what it means to be humble. In Matthew 20, the verses preceding Jesus’ declaration that He came to serve speak to what it takes to truly be a humble servant like Him. He states in verses 26-27, “…but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave” (NASB).
A true servant of God not only has to submit to God’s wishes, he must put the interests of others ahead of his own. This is a very difficult concept for man to grasp. I confess this is hard for me to put into practice. Sadly, we are ‘me first’ beings. In Philippians 2:2-11, it tells us to adopt the mind of Christ, the ultimate servant. God’s children will be united in Him if we are of the same mind, the same love, united in spirit and intent on one purpose. How? “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (NASB).
Through the years, I have been acquainted with a number of people I am confident tried to pattern their lives after Jesus and the words of Philippians 2. Some have been elders, deacons, preachers, class teachers and some have done none of these things in serving God and others. They have been servants nevertheless. They have been people who served God and silently served other Christians without being noticed and not wanting to be noticed. I have known women of various congregations who have done the work required of ‘widows indeed.’
I look around in the Franklin congregation and see many who are servants whether it is common knowledge or behind the scenes. They are people who are intent on serving God and their fellow saints.
I have observed examples of this attitude in a couple and their children who will be leaving this congregation shortly and moving. Mark and Kim Jones have faithfully served God and the saints at Franklin for a number of years. Mark has served as a deacon and Kim has worked diligently on the young people’s class curriculum in addition to many other works of service. They will be sorely missed. When servants like them have to leave a congregation, a big hole is left to fill. The Jones family is leaving us with an example of service like that mentioned of the children of Israel in Nehemiah 4:6 “…for the people had a mind to work” (NASB). Do we have a mind to work? Let’s all work the works God has given us to do.