Jesus Wants us to Be Served
In a few days, a friend of mine gets out of jail. We and two other couples we are dear friends with, will be splitting up housing, meals, rides, and job hunting to support him over the next three months.
This seems pretty Jesus-y, yes?
“The Son of Man came to serve (διακονέω), not to be served.” –Matthew 20:28
Well, lately, I’m not so sure. Because there’s something that feeds my ego when I help. So I’ve been thinking about the context of this passage. Two of the disciples get their mama (at least we assume this by the reaction of the other ten) to ask Jesus if they can be in power when Jesus becomes King.
Jesus responds this way: “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— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
In a culture that longer has the social stigma of slavery, the difference between serving someone and being a servant can be lost on us. I’ll speak for myself when I say, I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to serve the slaves but I don’t want to be one. I want to help the less fortunate but I don’t want to be less fortunate. Serving takes my time and energy but being a servant takes my identity and social status.
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