In our quest for the marks of mature spirituality and leadership ability, we must not bypass that quality which so completely characterized the life of YAHUSHA ha’MASIAH, the quality of unselfish servanthood. YAHUSHA said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45) The apostle Paul added to this focus when he wrote, “Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but the interests of others as well” (Phil. 1:4). But then pointing to the Savior as our great example, he quickly added, “You should have the same attitude toward one another that YAHUSHA MASIAH had.” Paul then followed this exhortation with a strong reminder of the humiliation of MASHIAH (Phil. 2:6) who, though being Elohim, emptied Himself by taking the form of a slave. There is no question that if we as Christians (Mashiamiyim) are going to grow and mature into Mashiah-like character, we must experience progress in giving of ourselves in ministry to and for others. While we can and should find comfort and encouragement in Mashiah (Phil. 2:1), when properly grasped, that comfort should propel us into servants of the Savior and one another. Servant living stands opposed to the primary concerns we see today where the focus of our culture and society is more on our own personal happiness and comfort.
The preoccupation with self today is readily seen in slogans like, “be all you can be” or “experience your potential” and in the titles and subtitles of books like “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life”; “The Total Woman” and the list goes on and on. While many of these books may contain Scriptural truth or genuine help in dealing with certain problems people face as human beings, the message, whether explicit or implicit, suggests the prime goal we should be pursuing is our own comfort and the experience of some form of self-expression rather than growth in the character and quality of the life of the Savior. Simply put, our modern day society, and this includes a great number of Mashiahiyim (Christians), is focused on making satisfaction its goal, indeed, its religion. There is much more concern for self-fulfillment than for pleasing Elohim and truly serving Him and others as seen in the life of YAHUSHA. Typical of today is the enormous number of how-to-books not just for the secular world, but for the Mashiahiyim (Christian) community. These are aimed at directing us to more successful relationships, becoming more of a person, realizing one’s potential, experiencing more thrills each day, whipping ourselves into shape, improving our diet, managing our money, and on it goes. Again, while many of these things are important and have their place, it does take the focus off what is truly the heart of Christianity—knowing and loving Elohim, and out of that resource and relationship, living as servants in the power of the Spirit according to the example of Mashiah.
But what exactly is servanthood? Servanthood is the state, condition, or quality of one who lives as a servant. Further, a servant is first of all one who is under submission to another. For Mashiahiyimoth (Christians), this means submission to Elohim first, and then submission to one another. Then, as one in submission, a servant is one who seeks to meet the real needs of others or of the person he is serving. To put it another way, servanthood is the condition or state of being a servant to others, of ministry to others rather than the service of self. It means willingly giving of oneself to minister for and to others and to do whatever it takes to accomplish what is best for another.
However, when serving others and their needs, if the underlying motive and goal is some form of self love, like the praise of others for the service rendered, then one’s service is in reality hypocritical. This type of service is really aimed at serving selfish ends—usually in the futile pursuit of personal significance through something like praise, power, or status.
Mashiah’s plan and that which produces maximum blessing to the world and the church is servanthood. A servant is one who, even when in positions of leadership seeks to lead and influence others through lives given in ministry for the blessing of others and their needs. As the following passages will demonstrate, Master YAHUSHA came as a servant with a commitment to serve. Just think, if He had come to be served, our redemption could and would never have taken place. Likewise, our failure to live as servants throws up a huge barrier to effective ministry as representatives of Master YAHUSHA.