by Dr. Don Young
Mark 10:45 gives us a clear picture of the servant ministry of Jesus. “For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many” (New Living Translation).
Playing Second Fiddle
A popular song from the Southern Gospel music world of the past contained the haunting lyric line, “Nobody wants to play rhythm guitar behind Jesus—everybody wants to be the lead singer in the band.” As we read Mark 10:35-45 the motive behind a simple request asked of Jesus by James and John becomes clear. They were concerned about sitting in places of honor. Jesus seized the opportunity to teach a valuable lesson about servanthood among believers.
Jesus questioned these two opportunists concerning their ability to “drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink” and “be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with.” Surprisingly their answer was quick. “We are able!”
It is easy for believers today to strive for positions of leadership and authority in the Lord’s work while avoiding the issue of servanthood. Jesus made the point that good leaders must first be good followers and those who want to be first need to master the art of serving others. Leadership then becomes a condition that is earned through the compassionate lifestyle of serving others. To be like Jesus is to demonstrate a servant’s attitude.
The Joy of Serving
In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus illustrated the importance of serving others and the motive behind such service. The early Christians demonstrated loving service so well. The more they reached out to help others and share the gospel, the more the Lord “added to the church” and the more the church spread like a wild fire. Perhaps the lesson for today is simply that our approaches to evangelism would produce even greater results if we accompanied them with the humanitarian spirit of helping others.
Don Young, Ph.D., is President of Carolina Christian College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Don recently retired after 25 years as Minister of the Russellville Church of Christ in Russellville, Ohio. He is the Director of Christians across America. He and his wife Brenda reside in Batavia, Ohio.