All of us have watched small children learning to play together. It usually involves a lot of fussing and quarrelling and exclamations of “I want…” “Mine!” Without adult intervention, playtimes often end in tears. Isn’t it good we grow out of that phase after we become adults. Right? It is even better that we never revert to that phase after we become believers. Right?
Wrong! Church members can sometimes behave like those demanding children who want things their own way. I have never seen any church members lying on the floor, kicking and screaming, but I have witnessed some very strong disagreements. Even Jesus had to settle a “me first” fight among his disciples. One day the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest. Jesus sat down, called those grown men together and said: “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35).
Was that word only for the twelve disciples? No! It is for me as well. As a church member, my motivation should not be to get my preferences to the top of the list. I am supposed to be last, not first. I am supposed to be a servant instead of seeking to be served.
The Servant Example
The word servant occurs fifty-seven times in the New Testament. Sometimes it refers to a person who has that official role in a household. But many times it refers to the job we are to assume as believers. Also, the word serve occurs fifty-eight.
Serving is important in the Bible. Jesus said we are to serve. He set the supreme example when He stated, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). Paul said it as well: “I became a servant of the Gospel by the gift of God’s grace” (Ephesians 3:7). We will never find joy in church membership when we insist that things go our way. Paradoxically, we will have the greatest joy when we choose to be last. That’s what Jesus meant when he said the last will be first. True joy means giving up my rights and preferences and serving others.
The Mind of Christ
One of the best descriptions of the spirit of servanthood was written by Paul in Philippians 2:5-11. The apostle said it so powerfully: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.” So, what did Jesus do?
“He did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.”
“He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave.”
“He humbled Himself.”
“He became obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.”
Is it easy to achieve the same attitude that Christ had? Of course not! In fact without the power of the Holy Spirit it is impossible. And when you think you have had enough and are finished making sacrifices for others, remember the cross. As you are overwhelmed by Jesus’ underserved love for you that caused Him to sacrifice everything, you will be able to do the same for others.
The Third Pledge
I Am a Church Member
I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires.
That is self-serving. I am a member in this church to serve
others and to serve Christ. My Saviour went to the cross for
me. I can deal with any inconveniences and matters that do
not suit me. I consider it a joy to be His servant.
Sign and Date