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Servanthood

servant

What picture does the word “servant” bring to mind? Is it mostly negative or positive? And can you identify yourself as one?

For to identify yourself as a servant puts you in good company. Prophets, apostles and writers of the Bible called themselves servants of God. James (James 1:1), Peter (2 Peter 1:1), Jude (Jude 1:1) and even Christ Jesus identified themselves as a servants.

Even knowing this, it is hard to escape the negative mind-set that is associated with being a servant. In ancient times being a servant meant being of the lowest rank. Today, in the world at large, to be considered a servant is oftentimes a negative and a put-down. But for the one who follows Christ, Jesus turned the concept of servanthood upside down and back-to-front.

“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.” Matthew 20:25-27

So important was this concept that Jesus gave a graphic illustration of it before he went to the cross, washing the disciples dirty feet—a work reserved for servants.

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them,

“Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” John 13:12-15

For the Christian, to serve is the pattern of how we relate to each other. So, there is much to be gained by studying servanthood for you and for the youth. Indeed, to be in youth ministry means we are already engaged in servanthood. To be a leader for Christ is to serve.

This post and the next two are part of our Youth Connection articles, usable with your leadership team. You can download old YCs in the Resources Section of the GYMN-Asia website.

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