Christ-Centered Servants (Chapter Eight)
Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant . . . (Phil 2:5-7 NIV).
Chapter eight of Roy Hession’s book, The Calvary Road focuses on the meaning of being a bondservant of our Lord and our need for maintaining a Christ-centered servant attitude. A servant is a man or woman who freely and willingly lays down their rights, needs, and desires for the purpose of helping other men and women achieve their hopes and dreams. Christ-centered servants put others first for they trust that Christ can and will meet all their needs and fulfill their heart’s desires (Matt. 6:33). “Our servanthood to the Lord Jesus is to express itself in our servanthood to our fellows” (pg. 91).
Why would anyone want to yield his or her goals for another friend, relative, or even enemy? Our supreme example, Jesus, set aside his status in heaven in order that through his incarnation, death, and resurrection, we could have a relationship with our heavenly Father (Phil. 2:5-7). What motivates servants? Servants are compelled to please their Lord (2 Cor. 5:9). Jesus is the Suffering Servant who took my place and received my just condemnation (Isa. 53:5). Servants love Jesus for his great sacrificial love loved them when they were so very unlovely (Rom. 5:8). Therefore, Christ-centered servants want to serve like Jesus: unconditionally giving love and blessing to others (Mark 10:45).
We shall see more clearly still what our position is to be when we understand that we are to be the bondservants of One who was Himself willing to be a bondservant. Nothing shows better the amazing humility of the Lord Jesus, whose servants we are to be . . . (pg. 90).
How do Christ-centered servants serve? We serve out of heart gladness knowing that his grace enables us to lay down our lives for others. Who serves unselfishly? Only those whose hearts have been transformed by the Cross serve selflessly. They desire to work for things that last for eternity. For that reason, they choose a life of service without hesitation or equivocation. They live not for money, sex, and power, but for people and the kingdom (2 Cor. 5:14-15). Christ-centered servants do not worry about burning-out: they know that their strength will be renewed like the eagle (Isa. 40:30-31). Truly, the joy of the Lord is their strength as they exchange their weaknesses and failings for pleasure, forgiveness, and righteousness in Christ. (2 Cor. 12:1-12; Neh. 8:10).
When do servants serve? Servants do not wait to be seen. They give of themselves without concern for praise or attention. Where do God’s servants serve? They serve anywhere. They are not concerned about formal ministry positions: they overflow with the life of Jesus wherever the Lord places them.
This, then, is the Way of the Cross. It is the way that God’s lowly Bond Servant first trod for us, and should not we, the bondservants of that Bondservant, tread it still? Does it seem hard and forbidding, this way down? Be assured, it is the only way up. It was the way by which the Lord Jesus reached the Throne, and it is the way by which we, too, reach the place of spiritual power, authority and fruitfulness. Those who tread this path are radiant, happy souls, overflowing with the life of their Lord (pg. 95).
Servants serve because that is what servants do. Servants do not worry about being used because they know that the Lord is their protector. Servants know that God is watching. Servants believe that God sees their efforts and will honor their work. Christ-centered servants live to hear these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21, 23). Servants do not condemn others for not serving: they know that except for God’s great grace, they would be self-absorbed, too. Servants want to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world:
Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks
Compassion on this world
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good
Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world
Yours are the hands
Yours are the feet
Yours are the eyes
You are His body
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
Words by St. Theresa of Avila: Music by John Michael Talbot
Servants live lives of joy and fulfillment. The Lord refreshes their spirits and they live for the privilege of basking in his pleasure (Psa. 16:11).
Oh Lord, help us to serve as you served: willingly, unselfishly, and graciously.