THE SERVANT GENERAL
Today’s reading: John 12:24-26
One of our Core Values is servant leadership. We are all servants
of God. He formed us as His servant from the womb (Is 49:5a),
and we are servants through whom He shows His glory (Is 49:3).
As servants of God, then we must follow Jesus. “Whoever
serves me must follow me” (Jn 12:26a). That means we
should go where Jesus goes, we should follow his lead, we
should obey the Father as he did, we should become like him
in holiness, we should exhibit the same zeal he has for the
Kingdom. We serve Jesus as his disciples, and in doing so,
we are to deny ourselves and carry our cross, just as he did.
One of the most significant ways by which Jesus served the
Father and us was to die for our sins on the cross. The ultimate
call to the Christian is to martyrdom, because when you have
given your very life, there is nothing more to give.
is a most precious gift to us by God. And Jesus came so that
we might have life and have it in abundance. We are to enjoy
life to the full as God intends. But here is the paradox:
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates
his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”
(Jn 12:25). What does it mean?
If we love life with all its worldly pleasures and we indulge
ourselves, then we lose the true meaning of life, which is
given to us by God so we can serve and give generously of
ourselves, not counting the cost. If we focus on our life
and what we can get out of it, we inevitably lose the opportunity
to do what God intended for us to do with our life. If we
love our life, we may lose out on eternal life. On the other
hand, if we do not look to our own satisfaction and pleasures
in life, then we are able to live for God, to work at building
His kingdom on earth, and eventually entering into eternal
life in heaven, which is what God intends all along.
How does this translate to practical terms for a servant?
To hate our life in this world means:
enjoy the good things God offers us in life, but we do not
We shun materialism and consumerism, acquiring only what
we truly need.
expend ourselves in serving God, giving generously of our
time, talent and treasure, to the point of “depriving”
We do not look to earthly rewards for our work, in fact
preferring to work in anonymity and without recognition.
We willingly suffer for the cause of Christ, and in fact
rejoice for the privilege.
We do not retaliate against those who attack us personally,
being unmindful of our reputation or honor in the eyes of
We are willing to die for our faith.
Now we in CFC-FFL are called to be an evangelistic and missionary
community. We are to work such that God’s “salvation
may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49:6e). As
servants, we try to give whatever we can, ever mindful of
how small and weak we truly are, given the awesome divine
work of God. We are merely small grains of wheat. But it is
when we die to ourselves, when we hate our life in this world,
that God can use us to produce much fruit. “Amen, amen,
I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground
and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies,
it produces much fruit.” (Jn 12:24). And of course,
if all of us live this way, then the many grains of wheat
that we are will produce a vast harvest field that brings
forth much fruit.
Jesus had to die in order that the fullness of his mission
would be achieved, in order that he might win salvation for
humankind. In the same way, if we are to be God’s instruments
in bringing salvation to the world, then we too need to die.
What does that mean?
crucify our old self with its sinful desires. “We
know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our
sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer
be in slavery to sin.” (Rom 6:6).
We allow Christ to live in us. “I have been crucified
with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in
me” (Gal 2:19b-20a).
We turn our whole life over to God, knowing Jesus purchased
us on the cross and now we belong to him. “Now those
who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with
its passions and desires.” (Gal 5:24).
We look to death in Christ as gain rather than loss. “For
to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21).
We look to our life as important simply as a gift by which
we serve God, especially in our work of evangelization.
“Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only
I may finish my course and the ministry that I received
from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of God’s
grace.” (Acts 20:24).
If we hate our life in this world and if we die as the grain
of wheat falling to the ground, then we will produce much
fruit. Then we will experience the fullness of the strength
of God in our work. Then we will be “made glorious in
the sight of the Lord” (Is 49:5c). Then we will truly
live out our calling and charism of massive and worldwide
And if we follow Jesus and serve him, we will ultimately be
there in heaven where he is, and the Father will welcome and
honor us. “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where
I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor
whoever serves me.” (Jn 12:26).
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Servant Leadership (Part 22) [PDF]