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Jesus tells his disciples that leadership in His Kingdom is different than leadership in the world. He teaches us that the greatest among you will be the servant of all. Even as Jesus tells us that He did not come to be served but to serve, so we are called to serve those around us (see Mark 10:35-45)
- Service at Home. Our true nature and posture is typically revealed at home where we let our guard down. Do we seek to serve those under our roof or have them serve us? Through the years, I have noticed that my wife has become even more of a servant to those of us in the home, including me. As she has become more selfless, I have to be careful not to become more selfish and allow her to constantly out-serve me. Whether it is cooking, washing dishes, walking the dog, grocery shopping, yard work, driving the car pool, taking out the trash, paying bills, etc., I need to make sure that I am being a good contributor to our household. If I am to provide spiritual leadership at home, this includes serving my family in various ways.
- Service at Work. For many of us, work is a competitive environment. Not only may we be competing for customers and clients with those in our industry, but there is often a desire to outperform our fellow workers for advancement and recognition. Do Jesus’ teachings have any application in this venue of life? Jim Collins’ research in his book, Good To Great, identified certain characteristics of leaders of elite companies who were able to sustain positive results over those in the industry. The Level 5 Leader, as he calls it, demonstrated servant leadership that resembles similar attributes Jesus identifies in Mark 10:35-45 and that He also exhibited among His disciples when He washed their feet (see John 13). Yes, Jesus’ teachings are very counter-cultural to the work place, but they still have relevance. How do you serve those around you at work, including those under your supervision? Do you practice the discipline of service with those in a different department?
- Service at Church. God equips us with various spiritual gifts and calls us to exercise these in the context of a local church (see 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, 1 Peter 4:10-11). Sometimes God calls us to an area of passion, and sometimes He calls us to an area of need, for which He gives us the desire to help out and assist. The goal is that the body of Christ, the church, is built up and encouraged. If you are a follower of Jesus, then you are a member in the body of Christ. In what ways are you building up that body?
- Service in our Neighborhood and Community. For many of us, our opportunities of service are consumed by our home, work, and church. We must realize, however, that we are called to serve in whatever place God has us. Do our neighbors believe that we are ready to serve them? Is our community a better place because believers in Christ are working to make it a better place? Does the world view Christians as those ready to judge and condemn, or those who are ready to love and serve?
Evaluate your current level of service in these four arenas. Are there any areas where you believe God may have you practice the discipline of service in a better way?