In a similar manner as a recent blog post entitled “The way down is the way up,” the Verse of the Day for January 29, 2017 speaks of another paradox related to the nature of true servanthood: the last shall be first, and the first shall be last. If you want to be in the premier position as number one, then put yourself in the last position by putting others first, and you will be great.
Mark 9:35 puts it this way in the New King James Version:
And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
Jesus Christ illustrates the same point that those who desire to be first should put themselves last and serve others first. Other places in the Scriptures also reveal this striking portrait of a true servant of the Lord:
Luke 22:26 (NLT)
But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.
A similar response occurs in Mark 10:43 (NLT)
But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,
A particularly noteworthy verse is found in Matthew 20:27 (NLT):
and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.
In following in the steps of Jesus Christ, one of the most noble character traits that a person can demonstrate is that of serving others. Throughout the life and ministry of Christ, he takes upon himself the form of a servant, thus modeling the behavior that he desires to see his followers emulate.
Dr. Martin Luther King also makes the same point in this excerpt called “To Serve” taken from his sermon, “The Drum Major Instinct”:
In the New Testament we find that the metaphor of the servant or bondslave is used in the Bible to portray this admirable heart of service. The distinction between the term “slave” and the “bond servant” which is translated from the Greek word doulos in the New Testament is that the servant or bondslave offers his life in “voluntary servitude.” Though often looked upon in a negative light, choosing to become a servant of the Lord is a most admirable character trait.
As believers, as fellow servants, we seek to express our personal application of the principles of servitude found in this intriguing figure described in this poem
More than Metaphor
For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me:
and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another,
Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it
To capture our essence, we strive to find a word,
Phrase, image or mind picture to bring clarity,
To express our deep yearning for intimacy.
Like Paul, our calling card reads: “servant of the Lord.”
Each fiber of our being and each emotion
Pulsates with lifeblood flowing from a servant’s heart.
As we endeavor to learn and live to impart
The joy of serving with pure-hearted devotion,
We pledge to work in voluntary servitude,
As we fix our eyes, looking unto our Lord’s hands,
To heed His Word and to do more than He commands,
To serve with love from a heart filled with gratitude.
Beyond a single concept, more than metaphor
Are these branded bondslaves who embody “the more.”
We close today’s post with “The Servant Song” by Maranatha! Promise Band.