Monday, October 19, 2015

To Be a Servant

Scripture Text: Matthew 23

For some being a servant to others comes naturally. For a vast majority of people being a servant to others requires choice and intention. Some of this has to do with humans being selfish when left to our own devices. There is a great tendency toward wanting to make sure things work out best for us, rather than best for someone else.

Jesus warns his followers to not give into this tendency, like the religious leaders of the day. According to the teaching of Jesus what matters most is not how important you appear to other people, it is how willing you are to be a servant to another person.

This is not a question of our actions as much as it is a question of our heart. More specifically, whether our heart is tied more to God than to ourselves. The religious leaders, as Jesus points out regularly, were more interested in the form of God but not a relationship with God. They wanted to look the part and appear to be close to God, while in reality they were far from God. This was seen best in how they treat other people.

Cultivating a healthy marriage means being on a relentless pursuit to serve our spouse more than we are served by our spouse. The foundation of being a servant to our spouse is found in our relationship with God. Keeping God first allows us to set an order to our relationships that produces a marriage of servanthood. Setting the priority order of our relationships helps us to prioritize our servanthood. First we serve God, second we serve our spouse, third our children, next our extended family.

This order has enabled us to keep our marriage focused on the things that matter most. It has helped us to approach each other with the heart of a servant rather than seeking to be served. When we are struggling to be a servant to each other it is because we have gotten the priorities messed up.  In fact when we get the first priority wrong, all the others fall apart as well. The most common reason for the misguided priority is self-importance.These are the times when we need to spend the time making sure that God is first in our lives.

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