December 07, 2014

Selfless Servanthood

Luke 1:31-38

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
—Luke 1:38


I recently searched the Internet for the most selfless people in history. As I looked through online discussions, I discovered a lot of people consider Mother Teresa, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Joan of Arc as excellent examples of selflessness. Each of them received little reward in spite of making tremendous contributions.

Christ’s kingdom calls us to a life of selflessness. Jesus told his disciples that anyone who would follow him would have to be willing to set aside their own ideas of satisfaction in order to follow the way of the cross.

Mary demonstrated this kind of self-sacrifice when she was told she would be the mother of the Messiah. She seemed to understand that this path would bring her trouble and heartache, but when the angel reassured her that God was using her to be part of his divine plan, she submitted, saying that she was the Lord’s servant.

To be saved by Christ includes a call to serve beyond oneself. Christ’s selflessness in becoming human, suffering the indignity of living in a sinful world, and submitting to death on a cross for our sake was not intended to give us a life of personal leisure without concern for others. Our lives in Christ have meaning that goes beyond our personal benefit as we seek to be part of his greater plan.

Lord, work in my heart so that I am eager to do to your will. Work out the gift of salvation in my life so that I can be a blessing to others. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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