MATTHEW 20:24-28: “When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” NLT
OBSERVATION: What is the highest calling one can aspire to in life? Is it to become famous, rich, or successful? Is it to live in a large house, drive a fancy car, or vacation at the hottest destinations? Is it even to build a ministry that is recognized and renowned by all? None of these are the highest calling one can aspire to in life.
The highest calling any person can aspire to in life is to become a servant. This is not what the disciples were expecting to hear. And James, John, and their mother surely were not looking for this answer to their request to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand in His Kingdom. If I am brutally honest with myself, this is not the answer I would naturally choose either. Yet – is it the only pathway to true personal fulfillment in life!
When we surrender our life to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, we become a Christ follower (a Christian). Our calling is just what it sounds like – to follow Jesus Christ’s life and example as we walk in the power and leading of the Holy Spirit. And, Jesus has clearly given us the example to follow through His life and ministry.
- “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The word translated “serve” in the verse above is the Greek word “diakoneo” (verb). A “diakonos” (noun, servant) was under the command of one greater than themselves and they were expected to serve others. The word literally means to attend to another, to wait on tables. We can glean some great insights by looking at a contemporary example of this in action – a waiter at a restaurant.
When you go to a restaurant part of the draw to eat out is to receive table service. You don’t have to cook at home. You don’t have to set the table. You don’t have to serve the food or clean up. Someone else is willing to do that for you. And, when that person puts you, the customer, first, you have a wonderful dining experience. When the waiter is preoccupied with themselves you end up wishing you had stayed home.
A successful waiter puts their customer first. They are attentive, cheerful, and look out for the small details that make a difference. Their main objective is to create a joyful experience for their guests. And, as they do, they are greatly rewarded. A good waiter does not do their job simply for the tip. They do their job with integrity and out of a love for people. The good tip they receive is simply the blessing that follows their good service!
What would happen in life if we all became waiters in the lives of others? I am using this figuratively of course. However, think of the difference it would make in other’s lives if we really took an interest in putting them first. If, instead of focusing on our own world, we took a sincere interest in their world. What if we gave attention to their needs, and the small details of their life, and were determined to truly be a blessing?
This is what Jesus came to do. He came to proclaim the Kingdom of God. As He did this – He healed the sick, comforted the broken-hearted, fed the hungry, and ultimately gave His own life as a ransom for the sin of the entire world. He emptied Himself of His glory and His heavenly prerogatives and became a servant, a “diakonos”, to a broken and hurting world. He fulfilled His Father’s highest calling!
- “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:6-11 NLT
This Christmas Season, as we rush to buy the perfect gift, as we attend the holiday parties, and as we reflect upon the true meaning of the season, let’s remember why Jesus came. He came to be a servant and give His life as a ransom for many. He came to put other’s needs before His own so that He could open the door of eternal life to all who would believe. He came to show us the way to aspire to the highest calling in life.
- “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2:3-5 NLT
Lord, grant me the grace I need to aspire to the highest calling in life. Help me be a servant to all.
In Jesus Name!