”The greatest among you will be your servant.” Matthew 23:11 (HCSB)
Jesus didn’t pull any punches. He said the greatest and most effective people in ministry would be those who were servants of all.
This kind of thinking is just the opposite of what we would naturally conclude. Sure, we know that somebody has got to do the “dirty” work. But that is what newbees, interns, rookies, the inexperienced, and novices are for…right? We expect those roles and responsibilities in the beginning of our work; but surely it’s not a permanent assignment, is it? Don’t we eventually get to be in charge…and delegate the “dirty” work to others? When do we get our needs met?
Jesus says that a servant’s role is THE role of an effective “fisher of men.” In fact, He says the one who serves most is the greatest leader. From God’s perspective, the strongest leaders will always be those who are most sensitive to and skillful in the meeting of needs of others. Why would that be the case?
If you and I are genuinely concerned about serving others, we will pay attention to their needs, their wants, and their priorities. Once you begin to pay attention to them, it proves to them that you actually care about them. Remember that Jesus told us to “love others like we love ourselves.” We naturally are concerned about our needs and wants. Whenever you start noticing others’ needs and meeting them, you are loving them like you would love yourself.
Actually, once you begin to pay attention to others, in order to serve them, you will find yourself changing and becoming a person who really does care…even if at first you didn’t care. Once you begin to care, it tears down walls and opens up opportunities for dialogue about the most important matters, such as eternal life.
It was easy for Jesus to serve because He genuinely cared about others. He never forgot what people really needed (forgiveness and redemption) but sought to gain a hearing by meeting needs. The Scripture constantly reminds us that Jesus traveled around and healed others, fed the hungry, cast out demons, spent time with the untouchables, played with kids, taught, and preached. That what I call a servant!
All the while He was serving, He was “fishing” for men. The ultimate goal was redemption. He wanted people to turn away from their sin and turn to God. And whoever turned, no matter what their past looked like, were received and changed.
A “fisher of men” is to do likewise.