Christianity is all about service. Modern Christianity, however, tends to highlight the opposite. We see churches that are like personal kingdoms, pastors with bodyguards and helicopters, and missionaries who speak like proud lords.
Jesus said this, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave” (Matthew 20:25-27, emphasis added).
“Not so with you.” Christ followers must be different. Our way up is down; the way to honor is humility. That is exactly what Jesus did—He abandoned His glory to serve us unto death. We are all called to the same manner of service.
We can learn from the example of one senior pastor of a former megachurch. “God said to me, ‘Build big people, not a big church,’” he said. Years ago, he looked at his megachurch in Hawaii and realized the expanding ministry was starting to center on him. Knowing of many ministries that failed when the head pastor left or died, he refused to let that happen to their church. So, he stepped down from his office, divided the congregation into different church campuses, trained trusted pastors to lead these churches, and served them tirelessly: helping, teaching, training, mentoring, and encouraging them. Having been so empowered by the leader’s servanthood, the church started to grow exponentially. Now each of over 100 church campuses is known by this single quality: a church eager to love and serve.
This is the power of selfless service. May we all learn to abandon our comforts to serve humbly at the feet of our Master.
Father, our nature wars against service. It is difficult to choose to be the last and the least, but keep us ever mindful of Your example and Your counter-cultural Kingdom. Give us the humility and courage to serve You by serving others.
by Ruth Callanta, president of the Center for Community Transformation (Philippines)