Not To Be Served, But To Serve
I have been reflecting a lot recently on how we can so quickly become self-centred and become focused on ourselves instead of others. I think in our culture we can be easily squeezed into the world’s mould of thinking, ‘me, me, me’. But as Christians we should be aiming for the attitude of Christ, who ‘did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many’ Matthew 20:28. Jesus left everything in heaven and came down to earth. Though He was a King, he became a servant, even washing his disciples’ feet, and died that we might live. Warren Wiersbe said in his book, On Being a Servant Of God: ‘Selfishness says, “What will I get?” Service says, “What I have I’ll give to you.”‘
Here are a few places that I think we can easily fall into self-centredness, where we should instead want to serve:
Marriage – We start thinking, ‘Why aren’t they helping me?’ when instead we should be thinking, ‘What can I do to serve them?’
Worship – We tend to think along the lines of, ‘I didn’t like the songs today’ whereas we should be thinking of giving God the glory and worshipping him regardless of the instruments or songs!
Fellowship – We can wonder why others aren’t talking to or supporting us, when we should be thinking of what we can do to help others and encourage them
Leadership – We can get used to being served when we should be an example by serving
Work – We can try and get through it quickly so that we can relax, when instead we should be thinking how we can serve those over us (or under us in the case of mothers!) by doing the very best we can.
Conversation – We all like talking about ourselves! But we should be thinking of those we are talking to and how we can encourage or help them. A great way to do that is by asking questions – as we won’t know what to help with if we don’t find out what’s going on in their lives.
Food – Food is necessary and fun but also a lot of work! I think we should be looking around for ways to help with preparation, serving or clearing up whenever possible. This also goes for other times when there is background work going on – we need to keep our eyes open so that we can see how we can serve others.
Practically I have come to the conclusion that in order for us to have this attitude and everything still to work well, we sometimes may need to change things around. We may need to make a ‘rest time’ or drop some things we would like to do in order to serve others better. I also believe we do need time to relax and be refreshed so that we can do a better job and not be worn out. However our attitude shouldn’t be focused on ourselves but on God and others. Another qualification I should make is that I believe we need to teach children to serve too, and to do that they will need to start off by serving us. But that is a great thing to teach them so I don’t think it goes against this at all! When I started Caleb on doing some chores I was amazed how his attitude changed to generally being more helpful, as I think it got him out of the habit of being purely self-centred.
Some verses to think about:
‘Let no-one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being’ 1 Cor 10:24
‘Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”‘ Matt 16:24
‘Love…does not seek its own.’ 1 Cor 13:5
‘Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others’ Phil 2:4
‘Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.’ Matt 20:26