What is a heart? A heart is not only a hollow muscular organ that pumps the blood through the circulatory system by rhythmic contraction and dilation or the central or innermost part of something but it is also where the love is. And there is a right heart and a wrong heart. Again,our goal here is to be like Christ, Christ likeness.
“Heart” (Hebrew lebab/leb [b’bel], Gk. kardia [kardiva]) occurs over one thousand times in the Bible, making it the most common anthropological term in the Scripture. It denotes a person’s center for both physical and emotional-intellectual-moral activities; sometimes it is used figuratively for any inaccessible thing.
If you want to be like Jesus, you have to be a servant with a good heart. He said, “I came to serve, not to be served.” (Mat 20:28).
Having the heart of a servant is an important component in our spiritual walk with the Lord. God shaped each one of us for service. Without possessing a servant’s heart, we may be tempted to misuse our abilities and God-given gifts for personal gain.
Jesus taught us the most important example of possessing a servant’s heart when He called His disciples together and said: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be a servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28).
Rick Warren, in his best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life, pointed out: “Thousand of books have been written on leadership, but few on servanthood. Everyone wants to lead; no one wants to be a servant. We would rather be generals than privates. Even Christians want to be ‘servant-leaders’, not just plain servants. But to be like Jesus is to be a servant. That’s what he called himself…. It is possible to serve in church for a lifetime without ever being a servant. You must have a servant’s heart”.
Characteristics of a servant’s heart
- Make themselves available to serve – In 2 Timothy 3-4, Paul writes to Timothy and reveals the following: “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer.” These instructions are applicable to us today, to avoid filling up our time with other pursuits that could limit our availability to serve God. Soldiers are ready and willing to jump into service when called upon, and servants make themselves available to their Master. If you only serve when it is convenient for you, you lack the heart of a true servant. Real servants do whatever is needed when the call arises, even when it is inconvenient. Remember that your time belongs to God, and you can only serve one master. It is fine to make plans, but always be prepared for God to rearrange your plans and orchestrate them at His will. Servants view interruptions not as an inconvenience, but as divine appointments for ministry. They are always cheerful for the opportunity to serve. Being a servant means giving up the right to control your schedule and allowing God to interrupt whenever he needs to.
- Pay attention to needs – Real servants are always on the lookout for ways to assist others and sensitive to others’ cries. When they see a need, they seize the moment to meet that need, just as the Bible commands us: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). When God puts someone in need right in front of us, He is giving us the opportunity to grow in servanthood. Opportunities come and go and we need to seize each opportunity that comes our way, enabling us to glorify God. The heart of a servant of God is sensitive and spontaneous, and does not allow any opportunity to pass by without a response to the need. Great opportunities to serve never last long. They pass quickly, sometimes never to return again. You may only get one chance to serve that person, so take advantage of the moment.
- Do the best for what they have – Servants do not make excuses, procrastinate, or wait for improved circumstances to serve God’s Kingdom. They jump right in, whatever the need. Ecclesiastes 11:4 instructs us: “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” In other words, if we wait for perfect conditions, we will be missing opportunities to serve God and His Kingdom. God expects His children to do whatever is necessary, wherever the need, using all our resources we possess. Less than perfect service is always better than the best intention, without action. You may feel that you do not have much to offer, but give whatever you are able of your time, talents, and treasures. Remember that when God’s call is there, His hand is there also, and He equips His humble servants. You may have heard it said, ‘If it can’t be done with excellence, don’t do it.’ Well, Jesus never said that! The truth is, almost everything we do is done poorly when we first start doing it-that’s how we learn.
- Do the task with equal dedication – Colossians 3:23 instructs us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” The size of the task is irrelevant, as long as the need is being met and you accomplish it with a full heart. None of God’s children are above assisting with menial tasks. God will never exempt us from the mundane, as it is a vital part of our character building. We are called to remain humble at all times, without title or accolades. It is in these small services that we grow in likeness of Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ specialized in menial tasks that others attempted to avoid: washing feet, helping children, preparing breakfast, and serving lepers. No task was too great or too small for our Lord. Nothing was ever beneath Jesus because He came to serve.Jesus, Himself, demonstrated the heart of a servant and He expects us to follow His example (John 13:15). No task is beneath us, if we possess a servant’s heart.Jesus specialized in menial tasks that everyone else tried to avoid: washing feet, helping children, fixing breakfast, and serving lepers. Nothing was beneath him, because he came to serve. It wasn’t in spite of his greatness that he did these things, but because of it, and he expects us to follow his example. Small tasks often show a big heart.
- Faithfull to their ministry – Faithful servants never retire. They serve faithfully as long as they’re alive. You can retire from your career, but you will never retire from serving God.
- Maintain a low profile – Real servants do not promote, boast, or call attention to themselves. Whatever we do to serve the Lord, regardless how small or great, we perform each task in quiet, as all glory goes unto the Lord. Real servants “put on the apron of humility to serve one another” (1 Peter 5:5). If recognized for their service, they humbly accept it, but do not allow the recognition to distract them from their work. Jesus rebuked the attitude of the Pharisees, and warned us in Matthew 6:1, “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Real servants do not serve for the approval, recognition, or applause of others. They live for an audience of One. Paul said: “If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Messiah” (Galatians 1:10). True servants are content with quietly serving in the shadows.
If you are presently serving in obscurity in some small way, perhaps feeling unknown and unappreciated, always remember that God knows you! You are where you are for His purpose, to bring honor and glory unto Him. God has every hair on your head numbered, and He knows who you are and what you do for His Kingdom. Our reward for possessing a servant’s heart is in eternity. Imagine God Almighty saying to you, as in Matthew 25:23, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Daniel, Timothy, and Paul, among others, were all called “faithful” servants of God. If you pass the test, you are most assuredly in good company!
As a servant of God, we are instructed to stand firm; allowing nothing to move us; always giving ourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because we know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose hope” (Galatians 6:9). Paul instructs us to “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver, And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
- Real Servants Think of Ministry as an Privilage, Not an Obligation – They enjoy helping people, meeting needs, and doing ministry. They “serve the Lord with gladness.” Why do we serve with gladness? Because we love the Lord, were grateful for his grace, we know serving is the highest use of life, and God has promised a reward. Jesus promised, The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me. And Paul added, He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other Christians.
Reach out to others this week and demonstrate God’s grace through your servitude to others. Then do it all for His praise, not for the praise of others.
I wish each of you a very great weekend, joyously serving the Lord! God bless us all!!
To God be the Glory!