Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?
It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.
'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'
Within the NIV translation of the four Gospels, the words 'servant' and 'master' appear together 31 different times. They are spoken directly by Jesus. Other translations may use 'slave' instead of 'servant', and 'lord' or 'teacher' instead of 'master', but the significance of this relationship is important to our King. Therefore, it must be important to us.
Our world teaches us to be leaders: masters of our own destinies, captains of our own ships. Money is our king, and we should follow him and his disciples diligently. Upon his consideration, we choose jobs, friends, and even churches. How will we know his disciples? By their fruits: clothing, cars, houses, buildings, and stuff.
To be an upwardly mobile professional is a high earthly calling, and I followed that call myself.
But Jesus called Himself a Servant: 'The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many' (Matthew 20:28). As for us? 'Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, 'Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all' ' (Mark 9:35).
Therefore, we who choose to follow Jesus must constantly and consistently deny ourselves as masters and affirm ourselves as servants. If He chooses to promote us to a leadership position, greater is our call to service, greater is the load we carry, and greater is our call to humility.
To become an upwardly mobile Christian is to become a stepping stone: a stairway, a ladder, and a bridge. Every time we lift someone else, God gives us another rung. A lifetime of godly rungs means we grow higher and higher, wiser and wiser, closer and closer to Him, 'That they may be perfected' (John 17:23).
The height we reach comes not from our ambition, but from His promotion. The foundation of our elevation is choosing to embrace the heart, mind, and actions of a servant. Its evidence is denial of self.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Self-Denial series.