Jesus said that the greatest in the Kingdom is the servant of all (Mt. 23:11). But this has frequently been twisted to mean that Jesus was endorsing doormat theology — that somehow He thought it was great to let everyone walk all over you. But Jesus is the greatest in the Kingdom, and He certainly didn’t do that. He didn’t go around doing whatever anyone demanded of Him. Rather, He spent His life obeying His Father, and frequently not doing what everyone thought He should do. But precisely by obeying His Father, He maximized the blessing He brought on the world. Jesus was the servant of all, and so He is the Greatest in the Kingdom. And we are called to imitate Him.
To be the servant of all does not mean submitting to the demands of anyone or everyone all the time. This is simply impossible even if you were to try. To be the servant of all means to do what God says we must do for those around us. It certainly means wanting to do good for the maximum number of people around us, but we do that through obedience to God, not through their whims or demands.
This means husbands loving and leading their wives like Christ loved the church, cleansing her with the water of the Word, making her holy and without blemish. This means wives respecting and submitting to their own husbands as the church does to Christ. This means parents bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, teaching and disciplining them to obey cheerfully. This means children honoring and obeying and providing for their parents. This means telling the truth, keeping your word, paying your bills, working hard, and worshiping the Lord. These are the central commands, and the ways we serve the most people over time.
In the Old Testament, God told the Israelites that cultural leadership would generally look like lending instead of borrowing. And so that is the kind of servants we should be aiming to be, the kind that have households of joy and peace and productivity with growing surpluses of goods and services, love and mercy, hospitality and friendship to share with others. And when you’re really good at some of those things, you might open up a shop and start selling to everyone, so you can serve even more people. You are called to greatness in the Kingdom, and that greatness means serving the maximum number of people. But that is only possible through obedience to the Lord of all.
Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash
Wes Kearney says
Matthew 9:35 is the scripture that refers to the “servant of all”
You have conflated two scriptures and given your own composite. This post is indicative of your wisdom and not God’s.
This is not what servant of all means. What Jesus says about the greatest servant and the servant of all are two completely separate things. Be careful not to decide for yourself what God means and look to Him first as counselor and teacher. He answers those who listen.