It is nearly impossible for any man to make himself the servant of another man in complete humility and sincerity. There is a flawed character in fallen man that is constantly seeking to be exalted and magnified above other men. The Biblical example of leadership that the New Testament reveals—uses the example of Jesus Christ as a basis for what a servant of God should exemplify.
To become a true servant of others is the highest form of leadership that the Old Testament prophecies ascribe to the Messiah’s purpose. Although Jesus is described as God Himself and the Creator of all that exists, He makes Himself a Servant of the creation He made, in order to redeem it back to the glory He originally intended.
There is no other man who has displayed this character of true humility in submission to others as a servant, more than Jesus Christ. He did this not only to set an example for us to follow but also to bring much glory to the Father, who allowed His only Son to be tortured and abused for the sake of all men. In doing this Jesus has proven His unique qualification as the one true judge and ruler of all men in the kingdom of God that is to come.
Matthew 20:25-28 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. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Anyone who sincerely seeks to be a Christian leader must be willing to be a servant leader, as Jesus became for us. Jesus’ greatness and uniqueness among all others is exemplified by His example of a genuine servant—in the purest sense of the word. He came to lay down His life as a sacrifice for sins that He did not commit. There is no greater example of love in serving someone than to be willing to die for those who are the objects of your love.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
We follow Jesus example of a true servant
Jesus as a true humble servant of God is exemplified in the manner in which He submitted His life to God for the benefit of all men. Though He is Himself God, Jesus set aside some of His glory, power, omniscience, rights and privileges to lay down His life as a sacrifice for us.
Some have concluded that because Jesus submitted Himself to God, calling Him My Father and My God, He was stating that He is not God Himself. This is of course absurd, as the prophecies of the Old Testament are clear that when the Messiah comes to earth, He would be God Himself. See the chapter: The Messiah Will be God.
In Prophecy 201, the Messiah will make Himself the servant of the Father in order to lay His life down for those He will redeem. He will be gentle, patient, and not fail to complete the work the Father has given Him to do.
Isaiah 42:1 “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
Matthew confirmed this prediction by Isaiah by quoting the exact same words in his Gospel:
Matthew 12:14-21 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.”
It was the abiding will of Jesus that in all He said and did, He would accomplish the purpose for which the Father sent Him into the world.
John 17:1,4 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father… I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do…”
Jesus displayed for us what a true servant of God is like, by His statement that His goal was to always do those things which pleased the Father.
John 8:29 “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”
In this desire to please God in His ministry of dying for the sins of the world, Jesus revealed the major factor which defines how one God can be three persons: complete unity of mind, purpose, and will. The human mind finds it difficult to comprehend how three can be one. How could three individual persons be One God? The answer is—these three, although they are different and distinct from each other, they are One in unity. They are so closely linked together in their agreement in everything, that they are really just One. Their complete agreement in all things, while still being distinct persons, is what makes them One God.
Understanding what unity of mind, will, and purpose is, helps us in our understanding of how Jesus can be the eternal God and Creator of all things, while at the same time submitting His life to the Father on our behalf. He did this in order to accomplish the redemption of all those who will believe God’s command for salvation. This was the will of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They worked together as One to accomplish this purpose, and they succeeded.
Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…”
In His great humility, Jesus did not consider His equality with God something to be held on to but made Himself of no reputation and took the form of a bondservant. Coming as a man and representing all men at the place of judgment, Jesus death on the cross fully vindicated us and made us perfect before God. All we must do to have this wonderful gift is to ask God for it.
In John Chapter 17, we see a clear picture of Jesus in the role of a servant as He prays to the Father in submission to His will—for our benefit. Upon completing the work that the Father gave the Son to do on earth, Jesus was exalted back to His former glory as God.
“…He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name…”
As Jesus prayed to the Father in John Chapter 17, He describes how He had finished the work which God gave Him to do. The Lord then requests that He be restored to the former place of honor that He held before He came to earth to die for us.
John 17:1-5 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
Jesus set an example for all of us who desire to be used by the Lord in leadership positions in His church. From the pastor to the janitor, all those who serve Jesus in His church are to follow His example of humility in our service. We humbly serve without seeking recognition. We look for things which need to be done in the church without being asked to do them: Picking up trash in the parking lot, taking out the garbage in the fellowship area, mopping the floors and pulling weeds are a few of the great jobs which always seem to have an opening.
Most importantly, in all that we do, we are always endeavoring to find agreement with all those who call themselves a follower of Jesus. As the Son desired complete unity with the Father and the Spirit, so also are we to look for ways to conform ourselves into a likemindedness amongst all other believers.
What is our motivation for serving?
Many people will volunteer for jobs which are highly visible and receive the greatest amount of attention and praise from those in the church who observe their service. Few however, ask for positions of service where they are not seen or acknowledged.
On a particular Sunday, after I had finished the service at our church, a young man approached me with a request. He said that he would like for me to grant him three consecutive Sundays where he could stand before the church congregation and teach during the morning service. I told him that we had an opening in the children’s ministry who needed a teacher for the first grade class. He told me that he didn’t want to teach children; he wanted to teach the adults. When I explained to him that we always started those who want to teach, in the Sunday school classes, he left the church and never came back. His motivations were wrong; and his heart was directed at himself, not to humbly serve wherever he would be needed the most.
If we truly want to follow Jesus’ example as a servant, we do not ask for positions of prominence. Instead we look for supportive roles where we are transparent and not otherwise seen by the members of the church. Prayer warriors for the pastors, elders, children’s ministry leaders and youth leaders, are a tremendous need in the church but often unfilled.
Many people will enthusiastically volunteer for a place of service in the church, then in a few weeks, we never see them again.
Many years ago, a young couple approached me with their sincere desire to head up the youth group in our church. After about 10 weeks, they were often absent from their commitment. When I called and asked if they were okay, they told me that they had resigned. This husband and wife team told me that they were not receiving enough feedback from the church leadership in regards to whether or not they were doing a good job with the youth of the church. They needed to be acknowledged and commended for doing what they promised they would do. The way in which they resigned was to simply not come back, without telling me or anyone else of their intentions. Instead of being content to just serve the youth and be good and faithful leaders, they needed to be told they were doing a good job. In other words, they were not there to serve; they were there to be recognized and congratulated.
This is not servanthood according to Jesus; it is selfishness. Jesus said that a person who is truly desires to be a servant does not expect that he will be acknowledged or thanked.
Luke 17:9 (Jesus speaking) Does he (the master) thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.
Unfortunately, the church today is plagued with many who will not serve in roles of service unless they are often recognized.
There are others whom I have observed who serve for years and years in roles where no one is aware of the many hours they serve and how much labor they put into serving the church body. They do it all because they love Jesus and they love the body of Christ. It is enough for these faithful men and women to know that they are serving their Lord, to whom they owe everything. These people have a true servant’s heart and they are rare and very precious to those of us who are seeking ourselves to serve Jesus in sincerity.
Matthew 20:25-28 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—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
What is lacking in most cases where a person expresses their desire to serve is a deep sense of humility which comes from understanding who we are because Jesus loves us and who we used to be before He saved us.
For additional information on Jesus’ humility, see Prophecy 337, The Messiah will come “lowly” (humbly).
For additional information on examples of Jesus as the Servant of God, see the chapter: The Messiah will be the Servant of God.
 Philippians 2:5-7