Better Together: The secret to greatness
Service is a mindset, a way of thinking. Phil. 2:5 instructs us to have the same mind as Christ. In Philippians 2:7, we read that Jesus emptied Himself and took on the form of a servant. In Matthew 23, He said, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” The most outstanding businesses serve their customers. The most extraordinary bosses serve their employees. Being a servant may sound like being weak or a pushover, but through this message, you’ll find that serving will transform your life in remarkable ways.
Something To Talk About:
- Servants love: To be a servant is to love. Jesus deeply loved these disciples, and that’s why He served these disciples because He loved them. John 13:1, “Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.” When did Jesus best exemplify His love to His disciples? Not when he taught them or not even when he did miracles but when he served them. Jesus is motivated by love. He’s God in human flesh. He is perfectly and purely and continually motivated by love. How about you and I? Could any of you say, “Oh yeah, every moment of my life, I have been perfectly, purely, continually, in every decision I have been motivated by love.” We can serve others when we are growing in the motivation of love. The more you’re motivated by love, the more you’re strengthened to serve. The more you’re strengthened to serve the more you achieve what Jesus tells us is true greatness.
- Servants know who they are: Serving grows out of the confidence that comes from knowing who they are. Look at Jesus, John 13:3-4, “Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist.” He’s about to serve the disciples. Jesus served out of the security of knowing who He was. He knew He was in control, but He chose to serve. He got up from the meal. He could have chosen to do anything; all things were under His power, but He chose to serve. This is what enabled Jesus to serve others at the moment of His greatest pressure. Who are you in Jesus Christ? You are chosen by God. You’re adopted by God. You’re an heir with Christ. That’s who you are. That is an identity that cannot be stolen.
- Servants meet needs: If I’m serving, it means I’m meeting somebody’s need. Jesus met an obvious need for the disciples. They all had dirty feet. In those days, people had dirty feet. Unless somebody washed your feet, the house got filled with mud. Jesus walks into the room. He sees this, and here’s what He does. John 13:5, says Jesus “poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” Jesus is scrubbing muddy men’s feet, 24 of them to be exact. There was a need, and Jesus met that need. God in human flesh washed dirty feet. He’s showing us what ministry is all about. He’s showing that there’s only one true kind of greatness, and it’s the greatness of service. There are probably some pressing needs in front of each of us. Meeting those needs is building greatness because service is the key to greatness.
- Servants serve imperfect people: Servants serve imperfect people because that’s the only kind of people that there are, imperfect people. Jesus shows us in the way that He served the disciples that we all are called to serve imperfect people. Jesus was serving imperfect people when He washed their feet. There was this argument going on because they thought Jesus had come to Jerusalem to take the kingdom. They thought He was going to be king in a few days. They were arguing about who would sit beside Him on the throne. Jesus, knowing He’s going to die the next day, walks into this. He spent three years with these guys, but they still didn’t get it. The truth of the matter is people will disappoint you as you serve, but that’s not why you’re serving for their affirmation. You’re serving because of God’s love for you and the difference it can make in somebody else’s life. Jesus kept serving no matter what, no matter what people said, no matter what people were going to do or what they had done. He just kept serving. Servants serve imperfect people.
- Servants are humble: If I’m going to be the kind of servant that really sees God at work in my life and through my life, humility is one of the keys. Washing feet in Jesus’ day was not some grand task; quite the opposite. The next day, He humbly went to the cross to meet the need for forgiveness. The greatest barrier to serving is pride. We tend to focus on how serving is going to make us feel about ourselves rather than knowing God loves us and just serving out of that. If you’re going to really be a great servant, you’re going to have to deal continually in your life with this issue of pride. The answer to that is humility. C. S. Lewis once said, “If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can I think tell them the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud.” Humility is not thinking less of yourself. Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking more of others. It’s valuing them by serving them.
- What does Mark 10:45 above reveal about the secret of Christ’s greatness? How did Jesus serve believers?
- How did Jesus love the disciples? Why does recognizing Christ’s love for us enable us to love others? How has this helped you?
- Luke 22:24 illustrates that even after three years with Jesus, the apostles were imperfect people. Yet Christ served them by washing their feet – even the feet of Judas who Jesus knew would betray him that very night. Discuss how remembering this when people disappoint us can enable us to choose to continue serving even imperfect people.
- Read John 13:8-15:. Discuss how Jesus teaches the disciples about humility and ministry by washing their feet. Why does Peter first resist having his feet washed by Jesus? Why is it so hard to break through our human tendency to pride? Why is there so much power in humility?
- Read John 13:3-4 above. Jesus was a servant-leader who knew who He was, where He was from, and where He was going. Because of our identity in Christ, we know that we are forgiven, we are righteous, we are reconciled to God, we are loved, we are adopted, we are children of God, we are God’s people, we are overcomers, we are saints, and we are heirs with Christ. Ho does this information impact how we serve?
- Are there ways that we wrongly make serving only about ourselves?
- What is it about serving others that you find hard to do? What are some things that have prevented you from serving others in the past? What are the wrong motivations you struggle with when serving others?
- How does an attitude of humility help you make serving and putting others first a priority in your life?
- What are practical ways you can serve in your everyday life? What are ways we, as a small group, can serve?
- What will you change this week as a result of this message?
Take One Thing Home with You:
It is an unfortunate truth that people are often self-centered and form habits that serve themselves, sometimes even at the cost of others. This is due to our sinful nature that convinces us that serving ourselves is best and will make us happiest. However, as Christians, we are called to live differently, not like the rest of the world. Instead of looking to serve ourselves, we should look to serve Jesus Christ foremost, as well as others.
Serving others involves more than simply our actions. Instead, it involves our hearts and attitudes towards each other while we serve; it requires love. Jesus is an example of this. He did not serve begrudgingly but showed true humility and love while He helped people from different backgrounds and social standings.