But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28
Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.~Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell lived through the Great Depression; in fact, he lived in a rented shack in Woodstock, New York during that time. I would say that he knew how difficult life could be sometimes. I wish I could say he was a great Christ follower, but he studied many religions and wrote on them. The above quote is an awesome thought and worth writing about. The thought came to me this week that the healthiest way to love you is to serve others over your own needs. This society today is so focused on what you can do to eliminate your own pain; we don’t realize the easiest solution is to not focus on ourselves, but others. Help others through their own pain to eliminate your own. The Bible says that love covers over a multitude of sins. Your very shame is always the same shame that others are facing. In the above verse, Jesus outlines a very radical thought and that thought is of servant leadership. In brief, Jesus is saying that the world doesn’t revolve around you, and you should think of yourself less than others, but also be a leader in this very effort. Let’s unpack these thoughts.
Jesus essentially was saying that the leaders of the world are selfish, and that the best way to lead is as a servant to everyone. Jesus did not give any doubt that He was the creator of the universe, but he also was humble enough to be a servant leader. A servant leader doesn’t put his agenda first, but the agenda of his team or those that He wants to make a substantial impact. The world says have a condescending attitude toward people, Jesus says make yourself less. I don’t know about you, but I always gravitate to a leader that is willing to mix it up with the troops and be a part of the task, not lording it over me. Jesus makes it clear; among you, it will be different. Doing the very thing the world doesn’t do always works and is so much more resilient.
The only way to become a servant is to love those you serve. Love is the key that unlocks the door to joy. The kind of love I am taking about is unconditional love, the same unconditional love God has for us. Thanks to Jesus’ work on the cross, God’s love no longer has conditions put on us. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have some responsibility in accepting this love. When we make these awesome godly choices, love comes natural. True love is not a feeling, but an action. It is not selfish and doesn’t center around your happiness. It’s how you make others happy. The old saying it’s better to give than to receive is so true when it comes to unconditional love. It’s giving of yourself and not expecting anything in return. When you unlock this unconditional love, an amazing thing happens next.
The most amazing gift happens and it is priceless, that is joy. When you love others and serve others unconditionally, joy is the gift of blessing God gives you. You love yourself in a healthier way than what you can when you are selfish. You have joy in your service, you have joy in yourself, and you have joy in God. Joy is all around. When I changed my life around and took off major pounds and decided the best course of action was to help people with their weight problems, I didn’t realize how much joy and love would come into my life. It’s an amazing feeling. There is one thing to remember though as we serve others over our own needs and that is healthy balance.
As we serve, we find unconditional love, and then awesome joy. Then we need to understand we have to serve at the level God wants us to serve. We cannot step ahead of God and think we are doing well. We can hurt those we are serving and ourselves as well if we are doing it in our own power and not God’s. We also can get a big head complex and lose our perspective. There is a healthy balance we need to keep between the physical, mental and spiritual. If any of these are out of whack we could burn out easy and then what good are we to the kingdom of God if that happens? The best way to keep perspective is through prayer, reading the word and an occasional fast. These three things help us examine our lives and understand when something is out of balance. Keeping our mind sharp is also important. Always have an attitude of allowing you to learn something new. Being a know it all shows you don’t know it all. Finally, to keep a sharp mind you also have to have good physical health. Eating the right things and exercising frequently can help not only with self-esteem, but it will give you the energy you need to do God’s will.
The healthiest way to love you it to serve others, find that unconditional love that unlocks unrelenting joy. Always keep in mind the balance you need to have in your life when you choose to do servant leadership. Don’t go beyond the level God wants you to be, the joyful path is God’s path.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.