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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #6, October 17, 2020: Servanthood

What Does The Bible Say About Servanthood?

The Bible has much to say about having a servant’s heart. One of those “teaching moments” that Jesus had with his apostles was when the mother of James and John came to Jesus to ask a favor. Here is the Scripture account:

20 Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. 21 “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” 22 But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” 23 Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.” 24 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:21-28, NLT)

Consider also the following passages:

Luke 22:27 ESV: For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

John 12:26 ESV: If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

Ephesians 5:21 ESV: Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

1 Peter 2:16 ESV: Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Mark 9:35 ESV: And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Mark 10:42-45 ESV: And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 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.”

Mark 10:45 ESV: For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV: For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Galatians 5:13 ESV: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

1 Peter 4:10 ESV: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

Philippians 2:5-8 ESV: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Matthew 23:11 ESV: The greatest among you shall be your servant.

How Does This Contrast With What The World Say About Servanthood?

“The world encourages personal ambition and pride. As the saying goes, ‘He who dies with the most toys wins.’ We live to compete and succeed. We want to be first. We want to be the boss. Our bumper stickers boast of our achievements. Our walls are decorated by our diplomas.

Is it possible that God desires something far greater for us than our own personal ambition? Yes it is, and yes He does. This greater thing that God wills is to be found in the most unlikely of places, a place to which most of us would never look at all: servanthood.

The world does not think highly of servants. To be a servant is to be in the lowliest of positions. No one boasts of their job as a servant. In fact, most people would be ashamed to be called servant. However, we do not live for the opinions or applause of man, but of God. Therefore, we must ask ourselves, what does God say on the subject? What does the Bible say about servanthood?” (https://www.compellingtruth.org/servanthood.html).

Here Are Some Real Actionable Steps We Can Take!

Leadership authority, Dr. John Maxwell, says that “to embody the quality of servanthood, a true leader:

1. “Puts Other’s Ahead of His Own Agenda….

2. “Possesses the Confidence to Serve….

3. “Initiates Service to Others….

4. “Is Not Position-Conscious….

5. “Serves Out of Love….”

He then suggests, “To improve your servanthood do the following:

  • Perform small acts of kindness for others that show you care
  • Learn to walk slowly through the crowd…. Make it your goal to connect with others by circulating among them and talking to people. Focus on each person you meet…..Make your agenda getting to know each person’s needs, wants and desires….
  • Move into action….Begin serving with your body and your heart will eventually catch up….

(The 21 Indispensable Qualities Of A Leader, John C. Maxwell, pp. 136-139)

Conclusion

We can all probably think of people in our lives who have demonstrated the characteristic of servanthood. I always think of my Dad who selflessly served others as he preached the gospel for forty-nine years (1957-2006). He preached in many small, struggling churches and worked as a welder, to support himself as he preached. He was not one to get discouraged easily and was a great role model.

In her book When Character Was King, Peggy Noonan gives many examples in the life of former President Ronald Reagan that demonstrated his servant’s heart. Also, in an article titled, “The Quiet Grace of Ronald Wilson Reagan” by Craig Shirley and Frank Donatelli, that appeared in the October 19, 2016 Wall Street Journal, they give an example of his personal grace, “Over the course of his life, the Gipper sent thousands of letters to fans, friends and even opponents, many of whom remember his personal grace. During his stay in the hospital, recovering from the assassination attempt, nurses were astonished to find Reagan one day on his hands and knees, cleaning up some water he had spilled. The leader of the free world was wiping the floor so no one else would have to do it” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-quiet-grace-of-ronald-wilson-reagan-1476831665).

Serving others is a recognized step in the recovery process. In the Celebrate Recovery Eight  Principles, Principle 8 says, “Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.” Step Twelve of the Twelve Steps of Recovery says, “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” This step is based upon Galatians 6:1, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” This is all about giving back; about servanthood!

I hope these thoughts will help you in becoming the man that God wants you to be. Thanks for reading ….

Randy

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Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Sunday, June 13, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Ephesians 4-6

Things to remember in today’s reading:

*Paul exhorts the Christians at Ephesus to unity, instructs them about using various gifts, and teaches about the new life in Christ being experienced by the Gentile Christians (4:1-32).

*Paul gives general instruction for holy living as he teaches about purity of life by avoiding evil deeds and and associations and adopting holy practices (5:1-20).

  • Paul teaches about submission to others (5:21-6:9).

*Paul urges the Christians at Ephesus to put on the whole armor of God, standing in the strength of the Lord, standing firm and being constant in prayer (6:10-20).

*Paul concludes his letter by greeting various individuals who have meant so much to him in his Christian walk (6:21-24).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

*There is a “walk” that we are to practice that must meet a certain standard! That standard is “the calling to which we have been called.” The grade we are to achieve is called here by Paul, “worthy.” Not just any half-hearted attempt will do!

*This “walk” will cause us to eagerly desire to “maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace”! It will motivate us to celebrate the “ones” we have in common in Jesus!

*What a wonderful work He has given us, this work of the ministry for building up the body of Christ!

*When we do not equip ourselves appropriately, and “grow up in every way…into Christ,” we expose ourselves to the dangers enumerated by Paul: being carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, and by craftiness in deceitful schemes!

*We all need to be renewed in the spirits of our minds.”

*The model for pure living for us to strive for is described here.

The model for the family relationships for us to strive for is described here.

Things to act on in today’s reading:

*I will speak the truth in love to my neighbor!

*I will let no corrupting talk come out of my mouth, but only that which is good for building up!

*I will put away all bitterness, and wrath and anger and clamor and slander!

*I will be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to my brothers and sisters in Christ!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

*To be renewed in the spirit of my mind, everyday putting on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness!

*Courage and love to motivate me to speak the truth with my neighbor!

*To be angry and sin not

*That I give not opportunity to the devil!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

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Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Saturday, June 12, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Luke 11-12

Things to remember in today’s reading:

*The Lord teaches His disciples to pray, declares confidently that it is the finger of God that is at work in him to cast out demons (1:1-23).

*Luke describes the process that occurs when an unclean spirit goes out of a person (11:24-26).

*Jesus defines “the blessed” as those who hear the word of God and keep it and He denounces the current generation for seeking a sign (11:27-32).

*Jesus teaches about light, washing before meals, and pronounces several woes on the Pharisees and lawyers (11:33-12:3).

*Jesus teaches about fear of the physical vs. fear of the spiritual, about acknowledging Him before men and about covetousness (12:4-21).

*Jesus teaches about being anxious, about being ready, about commitment even when it brings division, about interpreting the times and about settling with your accuser (12:22-59).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

*When we pray, we should express words of adoration (v1), confession (v4), thanksgiving (v3) and supplication (“your kingdom come” and “lead us not into temptation”). This simple prayer provides a pattern we can follow that we can remember with the acronym ACTS.

*We can be so persistent in pressing for specifics of right and wrong, that we neglect love (11:42).

*We can be guilty of seeking glory for ourselves for what we do rather than giving glory to God (11:43).

*We can so hinder others that we “take away the key of knowledge” (11:52).

Things to act on in today’s reading:

*I will pray!

*I will work to share the key of knowledge to God’s word!

*I will consider the birds and the lilies of the field when I begin to feel anxious!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

*For courage!

*For an obedient spirit!

*For anchoring in Jesus

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

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Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Friday, June 11, 2010

Today’s Scripture:

Things to remember in today’s reading:

*Speaking to a community forced from it’s home, Ezekiel sets the scene for an awesome vision of the glory of God (1:1-28).

*Ezekiel receives his commission to prophesy, through swallowing a scroll, given him by God. This scroll strengthens him and trains him in obedience (2:1-3:11).

*The glory of God withdraws and Ezekiel’s role becomes that of a watchman, then God’s glory returns to him in the valley telling him to shut himself within his house (3:12-27).

*Ezekiel receives his first vision of judgement against his own nation of Judah (usually called Israel in the text), prediction of death of one-third by pestilence, one-third by famine, an one-third by sword (4:1-5:17).

*Ezekiel receives his vision against the “mountains of Israel” (6:1-14).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

*It is right to vindicate the holiness of our Go and to attempt to restore His glory before people who have spurned it!

*As we preach and teach, we will encounter those who “have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart” (3:7).

*Ezekiel stood on the cusp between those who called for repentance by threatening judgment and those who called for repentance by promising restoration. He influenced those who came after him (ESV Study Bible, p. 1497).

Things to act on in today’s reading:

*I am thinking about what it might have been like to live in the time of Ezekiel.

*I am writing a note to encourage one of my brothers who has rebelled against God’s rules and has not walked in His steps and is doing wickedness that even many in the world around him recognize as immoral.

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

*That I might be an influence, on those who will follow me, in the same positive way that Ezekiel was.

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Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Thursday­­­­­­, June 10, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Proverbs 4

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • After making his fourth appeal to his son to walk securely in wisdom (3:21-35), the father makes his fifth appeal that wisdom is a tradition worth maintaining (4:1-9).
  • His sixth appeal is that there are two ways that lie before all of us that require us to choose the way of wisdom or the way of folly (4:10-19).
  • The father’s seventh appeal to his son is for him to maintain a heart of wisdom (4:20-27).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • Godliness and prudence are part of the legacy we should maintain as a family heritage (4:3-4).
  • Keeping hold of instruction of godly fathers and mothers will allow children to walk without their way being hampered and to run without them stumbling 4:12-13).
  • Out of the heart flows “the springs of life,” affecting our speech, what we look at, where we go and how we conduct ourselves (4:23).

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • Impress upon my sons the importance of putting away “crooked speech” and “devious talk” that they have a tendency to pick up from their friends in the world (4:24)
  • Discuss with my sons, ways they can keep my instructions to them within their hearts and what it means to hold fast to my words (4:4, 20-21).

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • That I always have humility as I give “good precepts,” and that “my teaching” and the wisdom that I impart to my sons is what God intends for them to receive!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

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Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Wednesday­­­­­­, June 9, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 69-71

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • In this psalm, the author laments his suffering at the hands of attackers who are taking advantage and making worse what he is experiencing as a result of his own wrongs (69:1-36).
  • In this psalm, the author prays urgently for rescue from enemies who delight in his hurt (70:1-5)
  • In this psalm, the author laments his plight at the hands of wicked, unjust, and cruel men and requests deliverance based upon his trusting in the Lord from his youth (71:1-24).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • We sometimes grow weary waiting for our God but then we remember, at an acceptable time, He will answer in His saving faithfulness (69:3, 13).
  • The Lord hears the needy and does not despise His own people who are prisoners (69:33).
  • God will not cast us off in the time of old age, when our strength is spent, if we have remembered Him in the days of our youth (71:6, 17-18; Ecclesiastes 12:1).
  • God has done great things; he has seen us through many troubles and calamities and will revive us again, when the flame grows dim (71:19-20).

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • I will keep on camping toward Canaan’s happy land!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • Teach me Lord to wait!
  • Revive me again – rekindle with fire from above …

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

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Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Tuesday­­­­­­, June 8, 2010

Today’s Scripture: 1st Kings 10-13

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • A description of the glory of Solomon’s kingdom continues from the previous chapter (10:1-29)
  • Solomon turns from the Lord when he is old, loving foreign women and going after other Gods, so God raises adversaries against him (11:1-26).
  • The most important of these adversaries, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, is chosen to receive ten of the tribes at the death of Solomon (11:27-43)
  • Solomon’s son Reheboam reigned in his place at his death but has to deal with the providential plan of God to give ten of the tribes to Jeroboam (12:1-25
  • “Solomon had been given great gifts from God, but instead of responsibly using these gifts in obedience to God, the king allowed himself to be influenced by others. Christ’s followers need to stand against pressure to compromise our faith and what we know be true.” (The Devotional Bible by Max Lucado, p 401)
  • When Jeroboam builds golden calves, the Lord sends a Man of God to speak against it (13:1-34).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • We must be on guard to not allow things in our lives to bring us to the same condition that Solomon found himself in when he was old; “his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God” (11:4)
  • With blessings come responsibilities (Luke 12:48). “Those who are given understanding, ability, goods, money, authority or fame have a responsibility that the less favored do not bear; failure to fulfill it produces fearful punishment…. Whatever level of opportunity is given to us, both God and man expect us to give a certain standard of performance. Favor carries with it responsibility. As the favor increases, the responsibility increases.” (From The Secret Kingdom by Pat Robertson)

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • To explore the responsibilities I have been given to serve God!

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • For help to stand against the harmful influences of others!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

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Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Monday­­­­­­, June 7, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Leviticus 1-3

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • Instructions are given for the burnt offering (1:1-17)
  • Instructions are given for the grain offering (2:1-16)
  • Instructions are given for the peace offering (3:1-17)

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • As God’s people, we must address our sin and impurity so that God will dwell among us!
  • As worshippers, we must be wholehearted in our devotion!

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • I will present my body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God! I will NOT be confirmed to this world! I will be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of my mind, because He has delivered me from the domain of darkness and TRANSFERRED me to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 1:13)

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • For wisdom to fight off all of the deceiving schemes of the prince of the domain of darkness!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

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Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Sunday­­­­­­, June 6, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Ephesians 1-3

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • Paul writes to “the saints who are in Ephesus” to remind them that Christ has blessed them with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (because they were chosen and predestined “for adoption as sons”) and had redeemed them through His blood. He praises them for their faith, telling them that they are continually in his prayers (1:1-23).
  • He reminds them of their hopelessness and helplessness without Christ and contrasts that with the hope this is in Christ and encourages them to even greater faithfulness to join in what God is building – a holy temple (2:1-22).
  • Paul elaborates on his call to be a minister to “preach to the Gentiles the unreachable riches of Christ and continues his prayer for their spiritual strength (3:1-21).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • What amazing blessings God has “lavished upon us” because of His grace (1:7). “It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone” (1:11-12 – The Message).
  • What incredible hope we have if we are Christians!
  • What a privilege we enjoy to live in a time where it has now been revealed that which was not made known to other generations!

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • “To preach the unreachable riches of Christ and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages.”

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • That my eyes may be focused and clear that I may see what Jesus is calling me to do!
  • For boldness and courage to preach God’s plan for redeeming the soul of man!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton

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Reflections on My Daily Bible Reading Saturday­­­­­­, June 5, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Luke 9-10

Things to remember in today’s reading:

  • Jesus sends the 12 Apostles out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal, Herod the tetrarch is perplexed by all that is happening and seeks to see Jesus, Jesus feeds the 5,000 and Peter leads the Apostles in stating their recognition of Him as “the Christ of God” compared with who “the crowds” were saying He was (9:1-20).
  • Jesus foretells His death, teaches the Apostles and others about daily cross bearing and is transfigured before Peter, John and James up on the mountain where Jesus had gone to pray (9:21-36).
  • Jesus heals the boy with the unclean spirit, astonishing the people “at the majesty of God,” and again tries to get across to His disciples that He would soon be “delivered up” to be crucified” (9:37-45).
  • Jesus continues to interact with His disciples, teaching them about the true nature of greatness, about potential reactions to their preaching, and about the cost of discipleship (9:46-62).
  • Jesus sends 72 other disciples on a mission of preaching and healing, meets the tests of the lawyer and teaches about loving God and loving your neighbor, and accepts an invitation to go to Mary and Martha’s house and teaches about physical aspects of serving vs. discipleship and fellowship with Jesus (10:1-42).

Things God is teaching me in today’s reading:

  • Daily cross bearing is required to follow Jesus. It often requires saying “no” to other tasks (9:57-62).
  • The transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain while He was praying was an important event, instilling in Peter, John and James the conviction they would need concerning the coming kingdom and the power with which it would come (see Peter’s statement in 2nd Peter 1:16-18).
  • Interesting is the statement by Jesus, “Let these words sink into your ears” and the comment by Luke, “But they did not understand His saying an it was concealed from them so that they might not perceive it.” (9:44-45). The concealing was not by God. (I disagree with the ESV Study Bible which comments here, “The disciples lack of understanding is due to the meaning of Jesus’ words being concealed from them by God.” I agree with the commentator Albert Barnes who says, “They had imbibed the common notions of the Jews that He was to be a prince and a conqueror to deliver the nation…. In this way it was hid from them – not by God, but by their previous false belief.”)
  • Things that are good in themselves, can distract me from the most important (i.e. close fellowship with the Lord).

Things to act on in today’s reading:

  • I will not allow the physical aspects of my service to cause me to neglect “sitting at the Lord’s feet” and “listening to His teaching.”

Things to pray about in today’s reading:

  • That I may take up “my cross” today and ever day!
  • That I may always see the glory of Jesus and listen to Him!
  • That I may never be distracted from an intimate walk with Jesus!

Thanks for reading with me dear friend. Have a blessed day!!

— Randy Sexton