THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF SERVANTHOOD
Today’s gospel: Mark 10:28-31
We are called to servanthood. We are slaves of our Lord and
Master Jesus Christ. Many times we encounter difficulties
in our service because we do not understand what it means
to be a servant. In today’s short gospel reading, we
learn seven basic principles about servanthood.
Principle #1: God owes us nothing, but we owe Him
said to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed
you.” (Mk 10:28). Peter thought he was doing Jesus a
huge favor, and was eagerly expecting what he might get in
return. Well, Jesus owes us nothing, but we owe him everything.
Jesus is not in our debt (we are not creditors), but rather
we are deep in debt to him. We are not doing Jesus a favor,
but we are the ones afforded a great privilege. We give up
everything, but do not earn anything in return.
servant or slave, with no rights of his own, with absolute
claim by the Master, is just to give without expecting to
receive. When he has done everything he has been commanded
to do, he is to say that he is an unprofitable servant, doing
only what he was obliged to do.
#2: When we serve, we must be ready to give up everything
servant is one “who has given up house or brothers or
sisters or mother or father or children or lands for (Jesus’)
sake and for the sake of the gospel” (Mk 10:29). This
means that Jesus and his work, that of proclaiming the gospel,
come first. This means that a servant is not to allow the
priorities of family or secular work to come before the greater
priority of God’s work.
of course does not deny us the blessing of family and secular
livelihood. But God comes first, and together with that comes
the work of the Kingdom. We serve God and not ourselves. Now
when we do so and when we prioritize God, then everything
else will fall into place.
servant gives up good things for the sake of a higher righteousness.
#3: When we serve and give up everything, we will be tremendously
it mean a servant is destined for a life of thankless service?
Perish the thought. God is never outdone in generosity. A
servant will “receive a hundred times more now in this
present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and
children and lands” (Mk 10:30a). What we give up, God
returns a hundredfold!
leaves the comfort of his home to do mission, but is welcomed
into many homes throughout the world, being hospitably treated
as family. One leaves close relatives in order to serve, but
has many more brothers and sisters in the Lord. One doing
kids or youth ministry will spend less time with his own children,
but will be privileged to positively affect the lives of many
more kids and youth placed in his care. One leaves one’s
homeland, but is able to claim many more lands for the Kingdom.
servant knows that what he empties, God will fill up, what
he gives up, God will restore, but even more. The more he
gives away, the more he has!
#4: Persecutions come with service.
says that we will receive bountiful blessings, but “with
persecutions” (Mk 10:30b). To serve Jesus is to do the
very work of God. When we do this, then we come against the
enemy, who has dominion over the world. We enter into spiritual
warfare. Since we face a formidable enemy, we will be bruised,
battered and bloodied. Since we work in a world dominated
by the evil one, we can expect to be oppressed and persecuted.
persecutions happen, we should rejoice. It means the enemy
thinks highly of our work to want to oppress us. It means
we walk the very path of Jesus, the path of the cross. It
means we encounter the inscrutable ways of God by which we
are purified, so that we can attain to greater holiness.
no matter how seemingly bad, can ever dampen the spirit of
Principle #5: The first will be last.
says, “many that are first will be last” (Mk 10:31a).
A leader is up there, first in line, looked up to. But the
Christian leader is a servant. The greatest needs to become
the least. Those who have been graced and greatly blessed
by God are to expend themselves in order to serve others.
servant knows that he follows the King of kings and Lord of
lords, the Master of all, but who expended himself in humble
service. A servant is privileged to do the same.
#6: The last will be first.
says that “the last will be first” (Mk 10:31b).
The servant is the least and the lowest. But those brought
low are the ones to be raised up by Jesus. Those who count
for nothing are those whom God will use. Those who are emptied
of self will be those who will be filled with grace by God.
Those who expend themselves for the service of others will
be the first in line to receive the crown of glory.
servant is able to humble and even demean himself, knowing
that such a one is whom Jesus himself will raise and extol.
#7: The ultimate reward of a servant is eternal life.
the one who serves, Jesus promises “eternal life in
the age to come” (Mk 10:30c). The servant knows that
he serves a divine Master, who awaits him in heaven. Life
on earth might be greatly difficult and full of pain, but
he knows he goes to a place where there are no more tears
but only peace and joy. We suffer but for a short while, so
that we might spend eternity with God in heaven.
heaven to look forward to, a servant can endure all hardships!
There is no greater call than to be a servant of the Lord
Jesus. Because we serve the One who gave his all out of great
love for us, the servant can expect that only good can come
out of his serving God. It might not seem that way at times.
Spiritual realities are often hidden. But Jesus himself has
given us these seven principles. We can only serve in faith.