Encouragement 05-14-04

Published: May 14, 2004


May 14, 2004
Encouragement for Today
The Richest Servant (Part Two)
Rebecca Ingram Powell
Author, Certified Speaker, Director of 2004 Writer's Track
Key Verse:
"He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form." Philippians 2:7 (NLT)

Mothers are well-acquainted with the life of a servant. We spend the day preparing bottles, lunches, and grocery lists. We serve up meals, advice, and freshly laundered clothes. We clean bathrooms, sinks, and carpets. We work all day and come home to work some more. We train children in the way they should go.
Did you realize that in these servant roles, you are serving God Himself? You may not work for the church or in ministry, but if you are a Christian (having given your life to Christ), then whatever you do, you are doing for Him. The apostle Paul said it this way, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward" (Colossians 3:23a, NIV). Like Jorge, you, too, are among the richest servants because of who you work for: "It is the Lord Christ you are serving" (Colossians 3:23:b).
Servanthood is tiring. It can be emotionally and physically draining, whether you're serving a colicky baby or a cranky boss. While I was working on this devotional, my youngest child, Derek, vomited in his bed. Not just any bed, mind you, but a new bed, with new sheets, a new comforter - you get the picture. Rich got Derek cleaned up while I tended to the bed, and I was reminded that there is absolutely nothing glamorous about servanthood. Servanthood can be a messy, smelly, mostly thankless job. My little Derek, sweet as he is, didn't thank me for cleaning up his bed. He didn't thank his daddy for washing him off and re-dressing him in clean pajamas. It's a good thing we didn't serve this kid for applause! We did it because we love him, and we know that he could have never cleaned up that yucky mess by himself.
You'll agree that it's not so difficult to serve a sick child; after all, that is our job as parents. But what about serving people who can never pay you back, people who won't be signing your paycheck or leaving a tip? This is the attitude of Christ, and Philippians 2:5 admonishes us to acquire this mindset as well. Jesus humbled Himself and "made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant" (Philippians 2:7). Indeed, Christ is the Richest Servant!
Why did He do it? Why did He leave His luxurious life in Heaven where angels waited on Him hand and foot? He did it out of obedience to God the Father. He did it out of love for us. He did it because in the corridors of the Heavenly Realm, the Father had written a note on Earth's door that said, "Jesus, it is My plan that Your blood wash away this mess. There is no way that the children can clean it up themselves."

My prayer for today:
Thank You, Lord. Thank You for the sacrifice You made when You left Your home in Glory to make a way for me. You willingly served a messy mankind and provided a way for us to be redeemed. Thank you. May I serve You this day with humility and total surrender. Amen.

Application Steps:
Did your mother serve you with loving kindness? Do you have a servant-grandmother in your life? Write a note of thanks to her today.

Reflection points:
Think about the messes you've made in your life. Do you believe that Jesus' blood is strong enough to clean up your mess? It is.
Are you managing a home, an office, or both? What can you learn from the servant attitude of Christ that will help you as a leader?
Are you looking for applause from others when you serve?
How can you serve someone who can never pay you back?

Power Verses:
Philippians 2:3 "Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself." (NLT)
Philippians 2:4 "Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing." (NLT)
Philippians 2:5 "Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had." (NLT)
Philippians 2:6 "Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God." (NLT)
Philippians 2:7 "He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form." (NLT)
Philippians 2:8 "And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross." (NLT)
Additional Resources:
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
Baby Boot Camp by Rebecca Ingram Powell
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries

Originally published Friday, 14 May 2004.