Two things I felt were being placed on my heart strongly at the end of last year were: service and love. I found myself praying for strength in those parts of my life a lot the past few months.
Thinking back on the life of Jesus, He was the great and awesome King who lived in love and humility. From His birth, to His way of life to His death, it was all done from a place of humility. Each time I marvel at the ability of someone so great to be so humble, this verse comes to mind – “And whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
We’re living in a time where everyone wants to be first and best. Careers, homes, weddings, cars, income… Whatever you can think of, the comparison game is rampant. I’m not sharing this from a place of judgement because I fall into that game quite often.
But when I catch myself doing that, I like to step back and think “Love and Service”. As I pray daily for the Lord to open my eyes to opportunities to serve other on my campus, with this blog, with my loved ones, I’ve started to think, what does it really mean to be a servant?
You might see that and scoff. Maybe your first thought is that you weren’t put on earth to serve, and if that’s the case, you’re so absolutely wrong.
If we’re to be like Jesus, and we’re told Jesus came to serve, well….do I need to spell it out? And Matthew 20:28 isn’t a verse that isn’t backed up by facts. I mean, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples! Do you know that back then, that job was reserved for the lowliest of servants? And this marvelous Prince of peace didn’t see himself as being too elevated in status to get down on his knees and do it for those who had followed Him through His journey.
Tell me then, who are you and I to think that we weren’t created to serve others?
I’ll be spending some time in the word looking for ways to serve and what exactly it means to serve and sharing with you over time. We’ll start today with these 5 characteristics according to Timothy.
5 Characteristics of a Servant of the Lord
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. 2 Timothy 2:24
She is not quarrelsome
The dictionary defines quarrelsome as “ready or likely to argue or disagree”. Hello! Talk about conviction on the first run around.
Ready to argue.
How often do you live in a state of just waiting for someone to get on your nerves so you can give them a piece of your mind? Or taking offense at every small thing that doesn’t go your way?
I was trying to pull out of a parking spot today and someone was behind me. On her phone. Waiting for someone else to move so she could park. After maybe 1 minute, I found myself getting irritated that I was blocked in by this lady that wasn’t even paying attention!
Now does she know that I was irritated with her? No. But in that moment, I stepped out of my role as a servant of God and into the role of being a member of the world.
Getting irritated was totally unnecessary, it’s not like I had anywhere else to be, and one more minute in my car wouldn’t have killed me.
I share that to say, being quarrelsome doesn’t always involve another person directly. If you’re mentally arguing and yelling at someone, guess what? In that moment, you’re being quarrelsome, whether the other person knows it or not.
In a sermon by Joyce Meyer I heard recently, she said something that was really profound to me and I think it’s very applicable to this point. She said “People can give offense but it’s up to you to take it. So when you say someone offended you? No. You took offense.”
Sometimes you have to be intentional about not stirring up the nest of discord. Paul says in Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
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She is kind to everyone
Kind to people we love? Nope. Kind to people who are kind to us? Nope. Kind to people who let us get our way? Nope. Kind. To. EVERYONE.
That means we’re kind to that person who took the parking spot you were about the take. Kind to that customer service rep who’s being mad rude because she’s probably having a hard day. Kind to that coworker who’s always talking and won’t let you get your work done.
Kind to everyone y’all. There are no conditions put on this.
It doesn’t say kind to everyone when we’re having a good day. Or kind to everyone when we think we’ll benefit from it.
This means when your first reaction is to lash out, and say some mean things about that person who just got on your absolute last nerve, it’s time to be like “Lord, I’m not feeling it right now, I don’t feel like being kind. But I’m your servant and you’re the one who gives me the strength to will and work for your good. Help me be kind.”
She is able to teach.
This characteristic immediately makes me think of being patient which is quite a struggle for me personally.
How often are you asked a question and the first thing you want to say, or do say sometimes is “Ask google.” Or something along those lines when you have the answer. Taking the time to help people, answer questions, teach them the way in which they should go might mean way more to them than you even know.
I had a friend tell me recently that she thought I would make a really good teacher because of the way I answer her questions. My response to her was “What questions?” She couldn’t pinpoint the exact question, but the fact is that me taking the time to explain things to her, stuck with her, even though I had completely forgotten.
I don’t share that to brag, I am training to be a teacher, so I hope I’m good at it! I share it so you understand the value of taking time to help someone.
Yes, it might cost you a few minutes of your time, but you never know how much it might be worth to that person.
I’ll add this: I still haven’t read the whole bible (smh at myself) BUT, I haven’t come across a time when Jesus was asked a question and He didn’t answer. It might have been in parable sometimes, but everything I’ve read so far has Him answering questions. If I’m wrong, please leave a comment and let me know!
Be intentional about developing these characteristics, with this free phone background to help.
She patiently endures evil
Can I be honest with you? This one threw me for a loop. I was like: Huh? Patiently enduring evil? How?
Then I looked up the amplified version, and it said “patient and forbearing and willing to suffer wrong”.
Willing to suffer wrong. Ooooohhhh. So when someone says something that totally riles me up, or cuts me off on the road, I’m meant to just chill out and let it happen with patience.
Whoa. That’s tough, no? But at this point I’m beginning to see a theme with all these characteristics and it’s pretty much this: To be a servant of the Lord, you have to continually go against your nature.
Most often, especially if we’re still growing in faith, our first reaction to things not going our way is usually not a Christ-like reaction.
And that’s ok! That’s why we were left with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 14:26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
When we need help pulling out a Christ-like reaction to worldly situations, we’re to turn to the Holy Spirit.
She corrects her opponents with gentleness.
This might possibly be the hardest of them all. I feel like it’s so easy for us to see our “opponents” as undeserving of any form of kindness, gentleness and love.
But then I refer you to the second characteristic. A servant of the Lord is kind to everyone, even her opponents.
I think it’s easy for us to correct people with the goal of showing our superiority. Proving that we know the right thing to do, coming from a place of judgement.
According to Timothy, a true servant of the Lord is gentle in the way they correct others. So the next time you need to set someone straight, check that it’s coming from a place of love before you do it.
What are your thoughts on these 5 characteristics of a servant of the Lord, are any of them particularly hard for you? Leave a comment below and let’s chat.
Don’t forget to grab the phone screen saver.
*This post was submitted in the Grace and Truth linkup, check it out for more Christian living blogposts!