Creflo Dollar - The Pathway to Success - Part 1
At this time, if you would, go to your Bibles to the book of Mark chapter 10, Mark chapter 10. And today I wanna minister something to you that hopefully will change your leadership style or hopefully will help you to evaluate who you are, but I believe that this can really help you to understand God's attitude and God's mind. We're living in a very interesting time right now; a time where everybody is trying to be successful, but they wanna bypass those things that make a success. It is a time where somehow people have been convinced that a team of one can actually get you to the place of great success, and that's not true. Nobody is ever gonna be successful by trying to achieve it with a team of one.
In other words, just you. You gotta stand on somebody's shoulders. There's got to be someone around that will cause some of those things to happen. And when you talk about being a servant; well, nobody's interested in being a servant. Everybody wants to be the boss. Everybody wants to be the head guy, and not realizing that the way to being the head is through servanthood. Servanthood is something that is very rarely spoken of, very rarely preached. In my generation coming up, this church 35 years ago was just engulfed in teachings on servanthood and we knew the power of servanthood.
And I remember when people started saying about the people who were serving, "Well, they're just pastor's flunkies or they're just a bunch of little slaves and, you know, they're just under somebody else's control". And slowly but surely this area of servanthood was being thrown down and not honored the way it should be. It was actually being diminished because of worldly attitudes and people looking at things through their philosophy or through the lens that they looked at the world through.
And so I wanna talk to you today about "Servanthood: the Pathway to Success," Servanthood: the Pathway to Success. And if there's one thing that I'm sure about, I'm sure that this pathway will lead you to success. My life as a servant for now about 40 years continues to go on because we can serve God in a variety of ways. We're not talking about serving people who, you know, are doing wrong things or serving people who are trying to get you to do wrong things. We're talking about serving God and we're talking about serving the kingdom of God, but what I've discovered is you can't serve God or his kingdom without serving people. Let me say that again. You can't serve God or his kingdom without serving his people. And so that's something that became a reality in my life; that if I'm going to serve God the way Jesus taught, then I've got to be willing to serve people.
And so let's get into this. I wanna start off with this definition. Or not a definition, but a statement I want you to think about; and the statement is this. True leadership is servanthood. True leadership is servanthood. Now, you're hungry to be a leader, but you can't be a true leader without servanthood. I heard a man say one day when his mother failed ill and he had to take care of her, and he realized what a lousy servant he was and he said to his self, he says, "Listen, I must have been in deception the whole time because I thought I was a good leader until I saw my servanthood". I thought that was so powerful. "I thought I was a great leader until I saw that I wasn't a great servant". Listen to me very carefully. True leadership is servanthood, and the greatest leader of all times was also the greatest servant of all times. And his name is Jesus Christ.
Now, I need you to think with me for a moment. Jesus Christ the greatest servant of all time, also the greatest leader of all times. They go hand in hand. You're never gonna be a great leader, you're never gonna be an awesome head of anything until you are a great servant and an awesome servant to something else. Listen to me carefully. Look at Mark chapter 10 and verse 42 through 45; Mark chapter 10, verse 42 through 45. Now, this is a very interesting Scripture, or set of Scriptures because actually, you know, if you back up to verse 35, you see the story about James and John. They were the sons of Zebedee. They came to Jesus and they asked Jesus this question in verse 35. They wanted to know, "'Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.' And he said unto them," verse 36 he said unto them, he says, "What would you that I should do for you"?
Now remember they're talking to Jesus, the greatest servant of all times. And then said unto him, "Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand and the other on thy left hand in thy glory". So here is James and John wanting some favor from Jesus. "Can we sit on the left hand or the right hand once we get the glory"? "But Jesus said unto them, 'You know not what you ask. Can you drink of the cup that I drink of and be baptized with the baptism that I'm baptized with?'" And verse 39 says, "And they said unto him, 'We can.' And Jesus said unto them, 'You shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of, and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall you be baptized,' but", verse 40, listen, "But to sit on my right hand or on my left hand is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them from whom it's prepared".
Now I ask, what is it about verse 40? Why was it not his to give? Well, we're gonna keep reading and you're gonna find out that he was a servant, and he says, "It's not mine to give". See, Jesus knew, he says, "I serve God. I'm a servant. This is not mine to give". I mean, he had a attitude of a servant. He took on the form of a servant, and even in this situation says, "That's not mine to give. I'm a servant to the one that's gonna be responsible for that". Now, notice he goes on here and he says, of course, in verse 41 the disciples were not pleased at all that James and John even approached Jesus with this. And then verse 42, "But Jesus called them to him and he saith unto them, 'You know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and their great ones exercise authority upon them.'" 43, "But so shall it not be among you".
In other words, "This is not gonna happen to those of you who serve the kingdom". "But so shall it not be among you. But whosoever will be great among you shall be your minister," or your servant. You see, the word "minister" is translated "servant". And we don't understand why is it when somebody comes to you and they say, "Well, are you a minister"? They're thinking, Are you a person that preaches from the pulpit? That's not what he's talking about here. When he's talking about you being a minister, he's talking about you being a servant. And so the people on the pulpit should be servants first. He's not referring to ministers that preach the Bible, he's talking about ministers, and the word here is ministers used here in the King James, but it's translated "servant". And what he says, "Whoever is gonna be great among you, let him be your servant".
And so somehow we missed that and we thought, you know, once we got the ordination papers, then now we are ministers, now we're great, no, no, no. You're great because you are a servant. And he says, "And whosoever of you will be the chiefest shall be servant of all," shall be servant of all. So he says if you're gonna be great, you gotta go past servanthood. If you're gonna be the chief, you can't do it without servanthood. And then he says in verse 45, "For even the son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many". Look at verse 45 in the NLT. He's talking about servant. He says, "The son of man came not to be ministered unto", in the NLT he says, "For even the son of man came not to be served, but to serve others". He came not to be served, but to serve others.
I tell you what, boy. Some Christians love to be served. But he says Jesus, Jesus the Son of God came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom, or a payment, for many. You gotta understand Jesus died and gave his whole life as a ransom so we could be free from the consequences of all the sins in our life. He served us literally with his life. Now think about it. If Jesus, the Son of God, came not to be served, but he came to serve. If Jesus, the Son of God, came not to be served but to serve, how do you skip that? How is it that as Christians we completely skip this issue of serving God and serving the kingdom? How is it that, you know, we wanna skip serving, go to Bible school, and then somebody give us a pulpit to preach in? How is it that we wanna skip serving people and wanna be appointed the head of something when Jesus came not to be served but to be a servant? And you'll find out in these lessons that that is the path to greatness, that is the path to greatness.
Now let's move on. Look at Philippians chapter 2; Philippians chapter 2, verses 6 through 7; Philippians chapter 2, verse 6 through... in fact, let's start at verse 5; Philippians 2:5, 6, and 7. Now notice here he talks about this mind. "Let this mind be in you, let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus". Now I'm gonna show you that this mindset that Jesus had was servanthood. You got to understand that servanthood is an attitude that's exemplified by Jesus. Servanthood is an attitude. The attitude of every Christian should be servanthood. You wanna know how to pick a leader? You're looking for one with an attitude of servanthood. You wanna know how to get somebody who's gonna be the head of your company? You're looking for someone who has the attitude of servanthood.
Listen to this carefully now. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus". Verse 6, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God," who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God. So in this situation here, this is so powerful to me because in this situation Jesus decided, "Well, I'm not gonna go for this issue of trying to be equal with God". Let me show you something. I wrote something down, wanna make sure I said it. Jesus did not seek equality with God, but he chose the role of a servant instead. "So what do you mean"? He was equal with God, but he thought it not robbery to be equal with God. But look at verse 7. Verse 7 says, "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men".
All right, now listen to this. He did not choose, he did not seek equality with God. He chose the role of a servant instead. There's gotta be some great wisdom in this that through our filter we're not picking up. It's almost like the way up is down. It's something about passing that test, not that you ever stop either. You just move into other forms of servanthood. But Jesus chose servanthood over being equal with God, and notice what he says. "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but instead," verse 7, "made himself of no reputation".
Now, this is so interesting because you have to be of no reputation to be a servant in the kingdom of God. If you're always concerned about a good reputation, where you're working real hard to maintain a good reputation, or, you know, you're working real hard not to have a bad reputation, and you working real hard to make that happen, Jesus says, "I am of no reputation". Basically, Jesus was like saying, "I don't care what anybody thinks about me. I'm not gonna give time to anybody's opinion about my reputation". Jesus was of no reputation, why? He says he took on the form of a servant. You're not gonna be able to take on the form of a servant being concerned about your reputation. You're not gonna be able to take on the form of a servant, you know, having this almost, like, shame to serve the kingdom of God and to serve in the kingdom of God. He took on the form of a servant. And here's something in verse 8. And then he says, "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself". He humbled himself.
See, you never will be the servant that Jesus talks about without humbling yourself. You have to submit yourself to servanthood, and the number-one enemy to servanthood in today's society is self-centeredness. "It's all about me. I'm not concerned about walking in humility, I'm concerned about developing importance in the eyes of other people". That's pride. That's the pride of life. "I want to be seen as important. I want to be seen as important. I'm working real hard to"... Some people will just lie about their reputation if it makes them look like they're important in the eyes of other people. And so Jesus said, you know, he humbled himself. He humbled himself. Think of this. The Son of God humbling himself to be in the form of a servant. And so are you willing to humble yourself to be in the form of a servant?
You know, it's all right for me to be a preacher, and I humble myself to the call of God on my life. But am I working real hard to make it seem like I'm more than just a preacher? "I'm this fantastic person. I'm well-known in the political arena, I'm"... No, I'm not doing that. I have to humble myself to be what God has called me to be. Are you willing to do that? Oh, some of you, this is like, "I don't wanna hear this because this is not where I wanna go". And we keep ignoring the pathway that leads you to success while we continue to try to get it, while we continue to work hard to get it, come up with our own way to get it. And Jesus has already developed up, listen to this. Taffi said it this morning. Jesus has already given you access to greatness through this path of servanthood, amen?
So look at this, John 13. Let's look at verse 12 in John 13. I just wanna share these things with you today because I believe that it's something we need to hear. It's something we need, you know, the Bible says in Hebrews be careful not to let certain things slip. Well, I certainly believe we've let this area of servanthood slip because, you know, times are different. You got social media, you got the internet, and now everybody has a microphone. Now everybody has the opportunity to bypass the form of a servant and not humble and submit themselves to a servant because they think that, "No, I want the head. I ain't working to be... I want the head". And I'm telling you you have to go this path in order to get there. Now, you may tap into some forms of success, but the problem is it won't last. The problem is it won't last because you got there the wrong way.
Now watch this. This is so, so good. Look at John 13, and let's start at verse 12. He says, "So after he had washed their feet". Now listen to this. We're gonna talk a little bit about the foot-washing doctrine. I'm not trying to, you know, make somebody mad at me or come against this, but I want you to look at this Scripture here, all right? He says, "So after he had washed their feet and had taken his garments and was set down again, he said unto them, 'Know ye what I have done to you?'" So now Jesus washed their feet, and after he washed their feet he said, "Do you know what was done to you"? So here it's like, "Okay, Jesus did this for a reason, a purpose". He's trying to communicate something to them to do. He's asking, "Do you know what's done to you"?
All right, look at verse 13. He says, "You call me master and Lord and you say well; for so am I. If I then, your Lord and master, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet". Now, look at what he's doing. He's trying to communicate something much greater than foot-washing. He says, "You call me your master. You call me your Lord. You're telling me I'm great in your sight. You're telling me I'm your leader, and I just submitted myself to wash your feet". And he says, "So as I've washed your feet, I want you to do the same thing," watch carefully. "As I've washed your feet, so ought you to wash one another's feet". Now please understand this is much bigger than washing feet. Look at the next verse. "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you". Notice what foot-washing was: an example, an example to do what he has done. What did he do? He served them by washing their feet. So he picked an example of washing feet, and he says, "What I'm trying to get you to do is serve one another like I serve you".
So we decided to create a foot-washing doctrine, ain't got no problem with that. But we decided to create a foot-washing doctrine and we'll wash somebody's feet and then get up from that and still not serve in an area. And Jesus says, "I want you to serve one another like I served you". That's the message. The message is not every time you see somebody, "Sit down. Let me wash your feet". I mean, that's cool, but it's like, "Dude, that's", it's much bigger than foot-washing. It's serving. It's serving. "This is what I want you to do. I want you to serve one another like like I, your master and your Lord, submitted to serving you. I want you not to be so high and mighty that you don't understand that this is what I want you to do. I want you to serve one another".