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In Mt. 20:28, Jesus said, "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Like Jesus, our aim should be to serve, not to be served. The important thing in life is not whether we are getting what we think is our due from others, but whether we are emptying ourselves in meeting the needs of those around us. Life is about giving, not getting. Did not Jesus say "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Ac. 20:35)?
The goal of life is not to see how well rested we can be at the end. It is not to see how many of our resources we can have in reserve when life is over. Certainly, we must be good stewards of our resources, using them wisely so as to get the most out of them for the longest time. But God blesses us as He does in order that we might use His blessings in service. Paul said, "I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls" (2 Cor. 12:15).
Selfishness is at the very heart of sin. Contrary to the dictates of love, which always prompt us to act in the best interests of others, selfishness turns our attention inward. It urges us to concentrate on getting others to do what we prefer them to do. In a completely sinful world, life would be one long struggle to bend everybody else to our own will.
In the world around us, competition is the norm, and often the competition is vicious. The main thought in the minds of many people is that they must get what they want -- by any means necessary -- because there is only so much of what people need in this world and a person can't afford to let someone else get his share. Whatever "it" may be, if you get "it" then I will have to do without. And that is unthinkable. So I must look out for myself first, and you must take what is left over.
But Jesus came to redeem us from that kind of selfish seeking. He taught us that we do the Father's will by denying self and stooping to make servants of ourselves for the sake of the other person's needs. All through this week, let's consider the importance of servanthood. Paul wrote, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). Let's look for ways to bear someone else's burden.
Monday: Matthew 20:20-28
Key Idea: The important thing in life is serving others, not being served.
Questions for Family Growth: What request did the mother of James and John make on their behalf? What was wrong with this request? According to Jesus, what is true greatness? Why did Jesus say He came to earth?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 27:21.
Tuesday: 1 Timothy 1:12-17
Key Idea: It is a privilege to render service as a follower of Christ.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.12, what does the word "ministry" (NKJV) mean? What did Paul mean when he said, "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry" (NKJV)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 27:22.
Wednesday: Matthew 7:12
Key Idea: We ought to do for others whatever we would want them to do for us.
Questions for Family Growth: Why do you think this verse is sometimes called the "Golden Rule"? To whom should we render service: is it only the people we like as friends? What did Jesus say about love in Mt. 5:43-48?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 27:23-27.
Thursday: Mark 6:30-44
Key Idea: Other people's needs are more important than our own comfort.
Questions for Family Growth: Why had Jesus and the disciples gone across the Sea of Galilee? What did they find when they arrived at the place where they were going? What was Jesus' attitude about the needs of the multitude?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 28:1.
Friday: Luke 10:25-37
Key Idea: We show love for others by serving their needs.
Questions for Family Growth: Why did Jesus tell the story of the "Good Samaritan" to the lawyer? What question had this man asked Jesus? What was the point of the story that Jesus intended the man to get? How can others tell if we truly love our neighbor?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 28:2.