Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Serve me first" or "Let me be the first to serve!"

Which kind of person are you? Are you the kind of person who thinks, “Serve me first!” or are you the kind of person whose attitude is “Let me be the first to serve!”? Sadly, we live in a society where most people are “Serve me first” people. The thought of putting another person ahead of ourselves truly never crosses our minds, yet this is the one of the greatest ways to find fulfillment and meaning for your life.

In the book of Matthew 20:26 & 28, Jesus talked about having a life of significance and meaning when He said this: “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many (NIV).” Paul would later say, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5, NIV).” When we spend our lives focused only on ourselves, we miss a great deal of blessings, joy, and benefits that are found only as we serve others.

So what are some characteristics of servant-leaders who have found the secret to a life of significance and meaning? First, they are sensitive to the needs of others. This type of person is truly filled with humility where he or she is not thinking less of themselves, but thinking of themselves less. One of the most amazing discoveries you could make today is to realize that all around you are people…real people…people with needs, concerns, problems, questions, and issues that you can meet and to whom you can minister.

Second, a servant-leader is a steward and not simply a consumer. This person remembers that God owns everything and that everything ultimately belongs to Him. If you are to truly have a life of significance and meaning, you must settle the money issues of your life. Jesus said, “No servant can serve two masters…you cannot serve both God and money (Matt. 6:24, NIV).” You will either live to minister to others or you will live for money. You will either seek to build wealth which is temporary or you will use wealth to build the kingdom of God and impact people’s lives for eternity. God uses money to test our faithfulness and commitment. Money above all things has more of a tendency to replace God in our lives than anything else, including ministry to other people.

Third, a servant-leader finds significance in serving. The world defines success by position, money, title, and place in life. The Bible teaches you can have the whole world and all of its successes and still lose your soul. When you choose to serve others you are reminded that your value and significance for living comes from God and not the opinion of the world. This offers your life great comfort, security, and confidence for everyday living.

Fourth, a servant-leader finds satisfaction in serving. When we serve God or serve others out of duty or obligation, this becomes tiresome, boring, and mundane. When we serve God and others with joy and thanksgiving for the opportunity, then our service becomes meaningful, fulfilling and satisfying. There is an old hymn that has this as its chorus, “Serve the Lord with gladness. This should be our theme.”

Imagine the difference your life could make in the life of another person this week if you would stop thinking and living like a “Serve me first” person and choose the attitude of Christ and become a “Let me be the first to serve” person.