Let me start by saying if you have not had the opportunity to hear Pastor Jeff’s sermons leading up to Easter as we all read Mark together, please check them out here. You can see the sermons parts 1-5 are listed in succession.
One question Pastor Jeff asked Sunday in his message, The Gospel of Mark part 5, was about having a servant’s heart. It struck home for me.
How do you know if you have a servant’s heart?
What do you do when someone treats you like a servant?
I don’t respond in grace when I am treated as the servant some (most, all?) days. Paster Jeff asked, “How much of your self esteem is wrapped up in status?” I rebel against the idea that my self worth is tied to my servanthood (I am worth little because I am ‘just’ a servant). But I still struggle against feeling belittled by others for my servanthood. It is painful to be a servant. Not glamorous. But when I consider my Savior was the servant of ALL, even to death, my heart is softened. When my focus is on Him and not me, the whole story changes.
As we try not to rush towards Easter, but to walk the road slowly and read through the Lord’s final days walking this Earth fully-God & fully-man, we see the disciples asking him who will be greatest. Don’t we ask the same question? I know I have wrestled with the desire for greatness, for the Lord to use me in a bigger way than he’s using me now. But who’s definition am I using if I ask to become ‘big’ or ‘greatest’? Do I seek validation for my importance in his kingdom just as the disciples do in Mark 10? Can I hear the Lord’s response to them?
The least will become the greatest. The way to ‘greatness’ is to get low.
Sometimes no one will see but God. Sometimes it seems that the unseen service ‘doesn’t count’. But do not be discouraged. Serve anyway! What if no one recognizes your talent? What if your ‘gifts’ are not used (to what you think) is their full potential? Take your eyes off of you and look back at Jesus.
Give it up to God. Do not wallow in self-pity. Do you trust the Lord is good? Trust that He is for you and not against you? Trust that what you think is the best may not be what God has planned? What if you are called to live in obscurity? Serving those who may never be able to recognize the gift. You are serving as unto the Lord. Isn’t that worth the sacrifice, whatever the sacrifice?
Walk to the cross this Easter with us. Let us examine our Lord’s steps & days & teachings. Let us seek and find out something new, something previously missed. Let us not miss His presence.
I wrote for 31 days in October 2013 on the topic of being a ‘little fish in a big pond’ who felt conflicted by the ‘desire to be great’. I am amazed that the lesson was there, right there in Mark.
“But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Serve others. And those who want to be the greatest? (gulp) Must be the servant of ALL. Wow. What a blessing to be a ‘little fish’, so to speak. To serve in community with those around me is my calling, and I pray the Lord will continue to teach me how and show me new ways I can serve. I am humbled by the example of the disciples and how I can see myself in their shoes as I never have before. God’s grace!
Thank you Lord for your words and your Word. Thank you for the answers to the questions we ask, even when we asked years ago. Thank you for your goodness and grace to us, your kindness that draws us to repentance. Thank you for your Holy Spirit to lead us and draw us. Thank you for teaching us all, in unique ways; your body living, moving and active. Thank you Lord for the slow walk to Easter, for the opportunity to not miss the call to repentance, and for the weight of your sacrifice for us. Thank you for your presence. Amen.