September 6, 2018 • Life for Leaders
I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power.
Like millions of people throughout the world, I became a devoted fan of the television series Downton Abbey. This PBS drama tells the story of an aristocratic British family in the first decades of the twentieth century. Yet, it focuses as much on the lives and relationships of the abbey’s servants as it does on the privileged lords and ladies.
Though Downton Abbey is fiction, the program’s creator, Julian Fellowes sought to present a realistic picture of abbey life. We see, among other things, that the lives of Downton’s servants are difficult. Yes, there are moments of joy and celebration. But, for the most part, servants work very hard for relatively little reward.
Servanthood was no easier in the first century A.D. than it was in the early 1900s. To be a servant was to be someone of low status, low income, and high work demands. Yet the Apostle Paul chooses to speak of himself as a servant when he describes his apostolic work. In Ephesians 3:7, he refers to himself as “a servant of this gospel,” that is, a servant of the good news that the Gentiles have been brought together with Jews to form a single people of God.
You and I might not be literal servants, but, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are also servants, servants of God called to serve others in God’s name. We are to serve our Lord not just in our obviously religious duties but also in every facet of life. We can serve God through our service to the people with whom we work, live, play, and worship. We serve God by serving the gospel, that is, by living so that the good news of God’s love in Christ is seen in all we do.
Something to Think About:
Do you think of yourself as a servant? Why or why not?
Where are you called to be a servant?
How do you express your servanthood?
Something to Do:
As you go about your day today, look for opportunities to serve others. Perhaps you can help someone carry a box at work. Perhaps you can serve by checking in with a colleague to see how she’s doing. Or, well, you name it. Serve the Lord today by serving others in his name.
Thank you, dear Lord, for giving me the gift of serving you and others. May I embrace my servanthood as an expression of your grace in my life. Help me to serve well today. May I serve those you bring into my life, at work, in the grocery store, on the athletic field, and at home. Help me to serve faithfully and effectively. To you be all the glory! Amen.
Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
Saved for Servanthood
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.