In Christ we learn to take the form of a servant.
What does greatness look like in the world today?
In what ways does this idea of greatness contrast God’s idea of greatness?
What reasons might the world have for serving others?
Conversely, what reasons does God urge us to serve others?
In Christ’s kingdom servanthood is the key to greatness, not position or influence. This varies greatly from the idea of greatness in our culture. In the business world, for example, greatness comes from ambition, drive, energy, or ability. Jesus, however, said the truly great in heaven—the servants—will be those who are humble.
READ Matthew 20:25-28 (KJV)
25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
In God’s kingdom, what is the path to greatness
Do you believe that Christians today have a proper understanding of servanthood? Explain.
According to this passage, who is our example for servanthood?
Why might the world hold a low view of servanthood nowadays?
At the center of the mind of Christ is the servant mind. We have difficulty understanding the real meaning of servanthood today—primarily because we associate it with subjection to authority and our pride pushes back against it—but many people in the Bible were called servants because they chose to worship the one true God. Although servanthood is not a hot commodity in our culture, the Bible gives us two reasons why we should be a servant. First, it is a command. Second, we are to become like Christ. Christ perfectly modeled servanthood, therefore we too must model servanthood.
In what ways are you currently serving your community?
READ ISAIAH 57:15, EPHESIANS 6:5-7, LUKE 16:13, AND 1 CORINTHIANS 4:1-2.
Isaiah 57:15 (KJV)
15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Ephesians 6:5-7 (KJV)
5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:
Luke 16:13 (KJV)
13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (KJV)
1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
According to Isaiah 57:15, what does our humility free God to do?
What characteristics of a servant mind do we find in these passages?
The fundamental servant characteristic is humility. Humility frees God to manifest Himself in our lives. Jesus showed a humble spirit of servanthood when He washed the feet of His disciples. The second servant characteristic is obedience. Obedience is an attitude that draws no limits on what the Master can order. We obey God because He is God, regardless of consequences, because we recognize His authority. The third servant characteristic is willingness, which we see in Ephesians 6:7. We can be weak-willed, strong-willed (self-willed), or God-willed. To be God-willed, a person identifies his will with God’s. We see this wholehearted willingness in Christ, who continuously served the will of the Father. The next characteristic is loyalty, which means you have an undivided heart. God demands loyalty, for we cannot serve two masters. Lordship, by definition, cannot be partial. We cannot say no and call Him Lord. The fifth characteristic is faithfulness. We must be faithful in both small and great matters. Faithfulness cannot be a one-time act.
READ PSALM 123:2, 2 TIMOTHY 2:24, MATTHEW 25:21 AND MATTHEW 7:24.
Psalm 123:2 (KJV)
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.
2 Timothy 2:24 (KJV)
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
Matthew 25:21 (KJV)
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Matthew 7:21 (KJV)
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
What characteristics of a servant mind do we find in these passages?
Of these characteristics, which do you believe is most lacking in our culture today?
Watchful: This is the sixth servant characteristic. Psalm 123:2 speaks to the expectancy and alertness that the Lord desires. Watchful means you want to know what God says or what He wants you to do.
Not Quarrelsome: This characteristic, and the five that follow it, are all presented in 2 Timothy 2:24. Servants of the Lord must not be quarrelsome, because we are often assigned to work together for the kingdom of God.
Gentle: This characteristic suggests congenial and mild. Some of our tasks as servants will require gentleness. Jesus possessed a gentleness that grew from great strength. Similarly, gentleness frees God to strengthen us.
Able to teach: The ability to communicate God’s message is expected of all servants of the Lord, not simply pastors and bishops.
Patient: We are to become like God, who is patient with us. This servant characteristic teaches us that we must wait on the Lord and be patient with others. Patience frees the Lord to answer prayer in His way and in His time. Waiting on God allows Him to provide the best answer.
Meek: Only Moses and Jesus are referred to as meek in the Bible. This is good company to keep! The word indicates lowliness, which is not to be confused with weakness. Only strength voluntarily submits. Meekness frees the Lord to guide you.
Good: A good servant accomplishes Kingdom work. Goodness frees the Lord to produce fruit in us. It proves we really are the servants we were redeemed to be.
Wise: The servant must use good judgment, keen discernment, and at times intelligent discrimination. Wisdom frees God to invest you with authority. Wisdom establishes that you are a disciple, learning from the Master and becoming like Him.
Help your group identify how the truths from the Scripture passage apply directly to their lives.
In what ways are you emphasizing God’s idea of greatness in your home, church, workplace, etc?
When are people most interested in serving others? How can we use these opportunities to teach others about the servant mind of Christ?