Being a servant is as much of an attitude as it is action.
Your 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, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! (Phil. 2:5-8)
You can do acts of service and still not be a servant if your motivation is rooted in selfish ambition, if your intended outcome is recognition, and if your ultimate purpose is to benefit yourself in some way. True servanthood begins with selflessness, maintains humility throughout, and ultimately seeks the good of others which requires the right heart attitude.
Let’s learn what it takes to be a servant by looking at Jesus’ attitude.
1) Jesus “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, even though He was in very nature God.”
Having the attitude of Jesus means we will not let position, status, or superior qualities and skills get in the way of serving.
Servants are not status seekers but rather display humility.
2) Jesus “made himself nothing.”
Having the attitude of Jesus begins with a choice. He purposefully laid aside all the glories of heaven to come to earth as a human baby. Still God, He chose to grow and live as a man who would suffer a humiliating and cruel death for us.
Servants do not get caught up in a sense of entitlement but rather give of themselves sacrificially.
3) Jesus took on “the very nature of a servant.”
Having the attitude of Jesus requires certain heart qualities. He didn’t put on a front. It wasn’t a contrived effort on His part but was real because it was the essence of who He was.
Servants do not merely act the part but rather are servants to the very core of their being.
4) Jesus was “made in human likeness.”
Having the attitude of Jesus means we will identify with those we serve. Jesus not only came to where we live but became one of us.
Servants are not aloof but rather empathize and enter into the lives of those they serve.
5) Jesus, “being found in appearance as a man humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross.”
Having the attitude of Jesus might lead to doing things we don’t want to do for the sake of others. Jesus prayed “not my will but Thy will be done” as He faced the cross.
Servants are not self-serving but rather submissive for the sake of the big picture.
So much of the attitude of Jesus began with a choice … a choice to make himself nothing, take on the nature of a servant, humble himself and become obedient.
Do you and I truly WANT TO become servants … not just do what we think we are supposed to do?
Notice that the choice He was making was to put His own status and comforts aside to work for the good of others.
Are you and I truly WILLING TO abandon our own agendas, ambitions, and applause to build others up and help them reach their potential in Christ?
Understand that working for the good of others was marked by suffering, submission, and sacrifice.
Are you and I truly WALKING the same road Jesus did to serve others?
Being a servant is one of the qualities of a good leader.
Resource for Leaders: Steering the Church Toward Christ-like Character Leadership Guide