Posts Tagged ‘Mark 9:35’

To serve: Power of the verb

January 29, 2019

,

The Verse of the Day for January 29, 2019, speaks of the oxymoronic 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 (AMP)

Sitting down [to teach], He called the twelve [disciples] and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all [in importance] and a 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 (AMP)

26 But it is not to be this way with you; on the contrary, the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest [and least privileged], and the [one who is the] leader, like the servant.

A similar response occurs in Mark 10:43 (AMP)

43 But this is not how it is among you; instead, whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant

A particularly noteworthy verse is found in Matthew 20:27 (AMP):

27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave;

In following in the steps of Jesus Christ, one of the noblest 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.

In discussing the contrasting concepts of being free and serving one another, one encounters a most provocative term in the Greek word doulos, the noun meaning “servant”, “bond servant,” or “bond-slave,” or “slave.” In fact, the verb “to serve” is derived from doulos and has been translated “to be a slave, to serve or render service or serving.”

Paul reiterates the message that though as a believer he is free in Christ, yet he chooses to serve others:

1 Corinthians 9:19 (AMP):

19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to everyone, so that I may win more [for Christ].

As believers, the state or condition whereby we have been called to salvation is liberty or freedom: freedom from the yoke of bondage, freedom from the chains that bind us in sin. We are, however, not to use our freedom as an occasion for the flesh or as an excuse or pretext for indulging our selfish desires. Instead, we are to be servants, those bound by love to serve one another.
In the midst of our perilous times that preclude a super-abundant harvest season, we must learn

To Serve and To Sow

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again
with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:5, 6

We learn to serve and to sow with a joyful heart,
To pour from the fountain of our souls and to give
All our strength to the Lord’s work and to do our part
To complete each task, to build that the Word might live,
For only deeds done for the sake of Christ remain.
The legacy that fulfills God’s will lives beyond
The brief journey of our days filled with joy and pain.
This precious token of our covenant, the bond
Of devotion to the Master, perfected love
Is shed abroad in our hearts, enfolded in peace
That passes understanding, flowing from above.
As we plant and water, our God gives the increase.
Freely we have received that we might come to know
The love of God, as we learn to serve and to sow.

Without question, “to serve” is one of the most powerful verbs in the English language. Listen to this excerpt from “The Drum Major Instinct,” unforgettable sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, who unfolds the beauty and simplicity in the words “To serve.”

We close with an expression of our utmost desire to offer to the Lord: A Servant’s Heart:

 

True servant: first and the last

January 29, 2018

The Verse of the Day for January 29, 2018 speaks of the oxymoronic 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 (NLT)

He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

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 among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,t. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a 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.
Nowhere is this portrait of a true servant of the Lord more vividly revealed than in the account where Jesus washes the feet of the disciples in John 13:12-15:

12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.

A number of years ago, my wife and I received a special Christmas gift: a statue of Christ washing one of his disciples’ feet with the inscription John chapter 13 embossed on the base. I was deeply moved when I opened the package and discovered such a priceless gift inside. In reflecting on this sculpture and the related verses, this poem comes to mind:

         Let Me Wash Your Feet

As Jesus put off his garments and wrapped a towel
around himself,
So I lay aside my pride with nothing to hide and
expose myself.
As a humble servant I long to wash your feet.
You could yourself
Perform this deed of loving service, but let me
Serve you myself.
To allow me to wash your feet is to bless me,
as Christ himself
Blessed the Twelve before he departed from this earth.
You have yourself
The key to the door of blessing for you and me:

As Jesus took
Upon himself
The servant’s form
That I myself
Might freely give
To you yourself,
So I ask you
As Christ himself
Still asks of me,
So I ask you to

Let me to wash your feet.

“The Basin and the Towel,” musical composition by Michael Card, also portrays this moving account of John 13 in this video:

The Verse of the Day and subsequent verses remind us once again that those who would be great must first serve others.

To serve: The last shall be first and the first shall be last

January 29, 2017

Mark-9 35

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

Matthew 8:9

 

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.

Beyond race relations: To serve

July 27, 2016

Galatians-5-13

In recent blog posts instead of examining the Verse of the Day, we have been continuing  the series based on the concept “It’s all about relationships,” the theme from a conference attended three years that related seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.” These principles can be universally applied in achieving and maintaining successful relationships, but they can also be specifically applied in an area of race relations, a critically important area in America today.

These seven principles are related to verbs that connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.” The reciprocal pronoun used in the plural carries the notion of a group of people acting upon themselves, i.e., upon one another. For example, we are to “love another and so forth. . .”

1) Love

2) Honor

3)  Forgive

4)  Encourage

5)  Admonish

6)  Serve

7)  Make peace

Earlier posts have discussed the first five principles, and today we will look at the sixth.

Serve one another

One of the most striking facets of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ was his taking upon himself the form of a servant who did not come into the world to be served but to serve. In discussing this topic of the servant or bond slave, an image almost immediately comes to mind: a basin and a towel, representative of a teachable moment in the ministry of Jesus Christ, who put off his robe and girded himself with a towel, portraying so clearly the heart of a true servant or bond slave when he washed the disciples’ feet in the account from John 13.12-15:

12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.

Elsewhere in the Scriptures we find similar exhortations to serve one another:

Galatians 5:13 in the New Living Translation:

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

As believers, we have been blessed with a wide range of spiritual abilities or talents, as 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) confirms and states how they should be used:

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

To serve in its most literal sense means to perform the duties of a servant or bond slave; in our case we serve one another from a position of “voluntary servitude.” We exercise our freedom in Christ Jesus and choose to serve one another. To serve is not to assume the lowest position in the eyes of God, but those who aspire to serve are recognized as great. In Matthew 20:25-27 Jesus Christ reiterates this point:

25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—

For a definition of what it means to serve, listen to this excerpt from the classic sermon “The Drum Major Instinct” by Dr. Martin Luther King, who speaks of vast possibilities for greatness for those who choose “to serve.”

As believers we are called upon to serve, we as we are ever challenged to sow as well, expressed in this way:

To Serve and To Sow

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.

He who continually goes forth weeping,

Bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again

with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 126:5,6

 

We learn to serve and to sow with a joyful heart,

To pour from the fountain of our souls and to give

All our strength to the Lord’s work and to do our part

To complete each task, to build that the Word might live,

For only deeds done for the sake of Christ remain.

The legacy of God’s will fulfilled lives beyond

This brief journey of our days filled with joy and pain:

This precious token of our covenant, the bond

Of devotion to the Master, perfected love

Shed abroad in our hearts, enfolded in His peace

That passes understanding, flowing from above.

As we plant and water, our God gives the increase.

Freely we have received that we might come to know

The love of God, as we learn to serve and to sow.

 

As believers, we respond to the call and demonstrate our choice:

To render service to, to act as a bond slave who serves

And joyfully gives advantage to the one being served,

So use your freedom to serve one another in love.

We conclude with the song “Be Devoted” by Acapella who encourage believers to “serve one another.”

 

 

 

 

 

To be first, become last, and serve others first

January 29, 2016

Mark-9 35

Revised and re-posted from a previous entry, the Verse of the Day for January 29, 2016 speaks of the oxymoronic 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 this way in the King James Version:

And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same 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.

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.

My attraction to this particular metaphor occurred more than 40 years ago when I was introduced to the concept of the doulos, translated “servant” but more accurately rendered “bondslave.” I produced an article “Doulos: A Different View of the Slave” published in 1975. In 1978 while completing my Master’s thesis, I explored the subject in light of Paul’s literary style in the Church Epistles. I went on to complete my Ph.D. in 1986 with a dissertation entitled Portrait of the Bondslave in the Bible: Slavery and Freedom in the Works of Four Afro-American Poets. Aside from a purely academic exploration of the topic of the bondslave, I have also endeavored to apply the precepts of this biblical term in a practical way. I express my personal application of the principles of servitude found in this intriguing figure in the poem “More Than Metaphor”:

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

Matthew 8:9

To capture my essence I strive to find a word,
Phrase, image or mind picture to bring clarity,
To express my deep yearning for intimacy.
Like Paul, my calling card reads: “servant of the Lord.”
Each fiber of my being and each emotion
Pulsates with lifeblood flowing from a servant’s heart.
As I endeavor to learn and live to impart
The joy of serving with pure-hearted devotion,
I pledge to work in voluntary servitude,
As I fix my eyes, looking unto my 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
Is this branded bondslave, who embodies “the more.”

Listen to “The Servant Song” by Maranatha! Promise Band, as we close this blog entry.

Put others first and you will be great

January 29, 2015

Mark-9 35

The Verse of the Day for January 29, 2015 speaks of the oxymoronic 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 (NLT)

He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

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.

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.

My attraction to this particular metaphor occurred more than 40 years ago when I was introduced to the concept of the doulos, translated “servant” but more accurately rendered “bondslave.” I produced an article “Doulos: A Different View of the Slave” published in 1975. In 1978 while completing my Master’s thesis, I explored the subject in light of Paul’s literary style in the Church Epistles. I went on to complete my Ph.D. in 1986 with a dissertation entitled Portrait of the Bondslave in the Bible: Slavery and Freedom in the Works of Four Afro-American Poets. Aside from a purely academic exploration of the topic of the bondslave, I have also endeavored to practically apply the precepts of this biblical term. I express my application of the principles of servitude found in this intriguing figure in the poem “More Than Metaphor”:

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

Matthew 8:9

 

To capture my essence I strive to find a word,

Phrase, image or mind picture to bring clarity,

To express my deep yearning for intimacy.

Like Paul, my calling card reads: “servant of the Lord.”

Each fiber of my being and each emotion

Pulsates with lifeblood flowing from a servant’s heart.

As I endeavor to learn and live to impart

The joy of serving with pure-hearted devotion,

I pledge to work in voluntary servitude,

As I fix my eyes, looking unto my 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

Is this branded bondslave, who embodies “the more.”

 

Listen to “The Servant Song” by Maranatha! Promise Band, as we close this blog entry.

Humility before honor

January 26, 2015

james-4-10

Taken from James 4:10 (New Living Translation), the Verse of the Day for January 26, 2015 reminds us that that “the way down is the way up”:

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

In Mark 9:35 Jesus Christ illustrates the same point that those who desire to be first should put themselves last and serve others first.

And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

Nowhere is this portrait of a true servant of the Lord more vividly revealed than in the account where Jesus washes the feet of the disciples in John 13.

A number of years ago, my wife and I received a special Christmas gift: a statue of Christ washing one of his disciples’ feet with the inscription John chapter 13 embossed on the base. I was deeply moved when I opened the package and discovered such a priceless gift inside.   Here is a replica of the sculpture that we received.

John 13 Statue

I recall a similar experience when I viewed another work of art that evoked a similar response. In a journal entry written in 2003 as I was on my way to Dakar, Senegal, I described the situation where I viewed a work of art and shared a poem based on the same account in John 13:

El Lavatorio (Tintoretto)

As I am enjoying the Vision of Madrid bus tour, I decide to get off at one of the stops—The Prado, the world famous museum housing a number of noteworthy works by such artists as Goya, El Greco, Velasquez, et.al. Some of the most recognized works in the collection are religious themes and portraits based on incidents and individuals portrayed as if they were members of the contemporary society at the time the works were painted. One particular painting, “El Lavatorio” by Tintoretto, deeply moves me in a profound way. The larger than life painting depicts Jesus washing the feet of Peter, as the others have either had their feet washed or are waiting for the experience. Once again I try to envision what the disciples must have thought when Jesus took a towel and a basin and began to wash their feet. What an overwhelming lesson in humility. As I reflect upon the painting which moves me to tears, I thought of this poem:

Let Me Wash Your Feet

As Jesus put off his garments and wrapped a towel

around himself,

So I lay aside my pride with nothing to hide and

expose myself.

As a humble servant I long to wash your feet.

You could yourself

Perform this deed of loving service, but let me

Serve you myself.

To allow me to wash your feet is to bless me,

as Christ, himself

Blessed the Twelve before he departed from this earth.

You have yourself

The key to the door of blessing for you and me:

As Jesus took

Upon himself

The servant’s form

That I, myself

Might freely give

To you, yourself,

So I ask you

As Christ, himself

Still asks of me,

So I ask you to

Let me to wash your feet.

“The Basin and the Towel,” musical composition by Michael Card, also portrays this moving account of John 13 in this video:

The Word of God reminds us once again that those who would be great must first serve others.

Let us pray:

God, our Father, we thank you for the honor and the privilege to carry out Christ’s command that we love one another and give our lives in service, just as he did. As we follow in Christ’s steps, may we also learn the lessons of humility and recognize that if we humble ourselves in your sight, that you will lift us up. In the name of Jesus Christ, our living Lord and Savior, Amen.

Mark 9:35–First and last

January 29, 2014

Mark-9 35The Verse of the Day for January 29, 2014 expresses the paradox of 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. A similar concept was expressed in another recent Verse of the Day taken from James 4:1 where we learn that that “the way down is the way up.”

Jesus Christ illustrates the same point that those who desire to be first should put themselves last and serve others first.  Nowhere is this portrait of a true servant of the Lord more vividly revealed than in the account where Jesus washes the feet of the disciples in John 13.

El_Lavatorio_(Tintoretto)A number of years ago, my wife and I received a special Christmas gift: a statue of Christ washing one of his disciples’ feet with the inscription John chapter 13 embossed on the base.  I was deeply moved when I opened the package and discovered such a priceless gift inside.   I recall a similar experience when I viewed another work of art that evoked a similar response.  In a journal entry written in 2003 as I was on my way to Dakar, Senegal, I described the situation and shared a poem based on the same account in John 13:

As I am enjoying the Vision of Madrid bus tour, I decide to get off at one of the stops—The Prado, the world famous museum housing a number of noteworthy works by such artists as Goya, El Greco, Velasquez, et.al.  Some of the most recognized works in the collection are religious themes and portraits based on incidents and individuals portrayed as if they were members of the contemporary society at the time the works were painted.  One particular painting, “El Lavatorio” by Tintoretto, deeply moves me in a profound way.  The larger than life painting depicts Jesus washing the feet of Peter, as the others have either had their feet washed or are waiting for the experience.  Once again I try to envision what the disciples must have thought when Jesus took a towel and a basin and began to wash their feet.  What an overwhelming lesson in humility.  As I reflect upon the painting which moves me to tears, I thought of this poem:

Let Me Wash Your Feet

John 13:4-5, 19

As Jesus put off his garments and wrapped a towel

around himself,

So I lay aside my pride with nothing to hide and

expose myself.

As a humble servant I long to wash your feet.

You could yourself

Perform this deed of loving service, but let me

serve you myself.

To allow me to wash your feet is to bless me,

as Christ himself

Blessed the Twelve before he departed from this earth.

You have yourself

The key to the door of blessing for you and me:

As Jesus took

Upon himself

The servant’s form

That I myself

Might freely give

To you yourself,

So I ask you

As Christ himself

Still asks of me,

So I ask you to

Let me to wash your feet.

“The Basin and the Towel,” musical composition by Michael Card, also portrays this moving account of John 13 in this video:

The Verse of the Day reminds us once again that those who would be great must first serve others.

basin and towel