And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35, NKJV).
The twelve disciples of Jesus were a mix of backgrounds and personalities. Under other circumstances, it’s quite possible some of them would never have met or associated with each other. Their common point was their belief in Jesus and His ministry. They spent over three years with Him and each other. Yet at times when reading the Bible I want to stop them and say, “What did you just say? You did what? Really!” (Am I the only one who would like to join the narrative with questions and comments of my own?) The passage in Mark 9:33-35 is one of those times.
Sometimes the disciples just seemed to miss the point of Jesus’ ministry. This is especially obvious when we read of their arguments among themselves—usually when they thought Jesus wasn’t listening. It happened again and again, and Jesus sometimes called them out on it. “What were you arguing about on the way?” He asked (verse 33). No one spoke up to answer His question. After all, it would be embarrassing to admit they were arguing over who would be the greatest among them.
They missed it. Completely. His kingdom was not about pomp and power. His kingdom would be established on servanthood.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, NKJV).
Jesus lived it before them and explained it to them, but they just didn’t grasp what He meant. Even at their last meal together before His betrayal, there was still strife among the twelve over who should be considered the greatest (Luke 22:24).
What’s Your SQ?
It is easy to fool ourselves and think our motives are right. That’s why we need to search our heart each day. We can discover our SQ (Servant Quotient) by asking ourselves a few questions.
- Is my service motivated by love (Galatians 5:13)?
- Am I concerned about who gets the credit for what is done (Philippians 2:3-8)?
- Am I seeking man’s approval or God’s approval (Galatians 1:10)?
- Am I willing to sacrifice my desires for the good of the body (Colossians 1:24)?
We have been given a tremendous example by the Lord of blessing each other through servanthood. Now let’s follow His example.
“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, ‘Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you’” (John 13:12-15, English Standard Version).
Prayer: Lord, it is so easy for me to become wrapped up in what I want and how I can push myself into a place of prominence. Yet that isn’t how You did it. You didn’t come to show Your great accomplishments. You came to be a servant of all. Please help me examine my heart every day to be sure my motives are pure. Help me to humble myself and follow your example of living my life with the attitude of a servant.