Talking to Jesus: Everybody’s Slave

“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45)

When most of us in this culture talk about being “a servant” or serving each other, it sounds to us like doing a noble thing by helping other people. When Jesus said it in His culture, “servant” sounded like the guy you pay to clean the dishes and wash the donkey poop you stepped in off your bare feet. It wasn’t an attitude; it was a job for poor people and women.

ttj_350So when Jesus told his power-hungry disciples that the way to get ahead in his kingdom was to out-serve each other, it probably sounded ridiculous. He made it worse. If you want the real power and influence, He said, become slave to all.

A servant, at least, is a free person paid to do what he’s told. He has the option of quitting if he gets the chance. A slave has no rights; he must do what he’s told or be punished. If you want to be first in the kingdom power rankings, Jesus taught, find the bottom rung on the ladder, take a step down, and sell yourself to serve those people (and everyone else).

Think: Why would Jesus say such a thing? Why is it so hard for us to believe that living as a slave to all will make us great in God’s kingdom? Do you believe it?

Pray: Ask God for the faith to believe that the most significant life and eternity is found in serving even the most insignificant-seeming people.

Do: Know someone who spends their time serving kids, poor people, or the sick? Send an e-mail and ask them why they do it.