Creflo Dollar - The Pathway to Success - Part 5
We're gonna dig in this, and we're gonna deal with part 3. We're in a series on "Servanthood: The Pathway to Success," and this is part 3. "Servanthood: The Pathway to Success". Let's begin in our key Scripture for this series, Mark chapter 10 and verse 45. Mark chapter 10 and verse 45, and we'll read it in the King James and the NLT. Mark chapter 10, verse 45 says, "For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many". Now, one of the things we said already is that the life of Jesus was characterized by the quality of unselfish servanthood, characterized by the quality of unselfish servanthood.
Now, the New Living Translation says this, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others", isn't that awesome? The Son of Man took on the form of a servant. And he didn't come to be served, but he came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. Listen to me carefully. Had he showed up to be served, then we would have never been served by him, the redemption and the reconciliation that came because he showed up as a servant. And so, one of the things I began to think about is this: how big is it that Jesus, who was equal to God, took on the form of flesh? And Jesus decided to serve. He showed up as a servant. He showed up as a servant. He chose to serve us, to serve mankind, and it was something just always big in his heart to serve humanity.
Now, one of the things I wanna show you today in this lesson is just look at the servant heart of the Lord Jesus Christ and look at some of the things that he said. Go with me, please, as we begin today in the book of John chapter 13. I'd like to start in verse 1 through 5. John 13, verses 1 through 5, and then I wanna go to 12 through 17. I wanna set the stage here of just, really, the background of what Jesus took on. Now, verse 1 says, "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end". Verse 2, "And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God". Verse 4, "He rises up from supper, and laid aside his garments; and he took a towel, and girded himself". Verse 5, "After that he poureth the water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded". Jesus took up the towel. The Son of Man took up the towel.
Now, let me show you the background here. Now, it was very understood that walking down the streets and the paths of Philistine that, you know, it was a dusty road and it was custom that when you would enter into someone's house that there would be a servant there with a towel ready to wash your feet, dry 'em off before you tracked any dirt in the house. Now, this is what Jesus did, the Son of God, the one that was equal to God. He actually stepped into the position of that servant, and he began to wash their feet, you know, the same as the servants did in the city when someone would come in the house. He began to wash their feet and to dry them with the towel. Think of that. Think of that. Here's Jesus saying, "I choose to serve," and he chose to serve in this manner.
Now, go to verse 12, and in verse 12, he says this, John 13, verse 12, He said, "So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again," look at what he said, "he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you"? He's saying to them, "Do you understand what I have done to you"? Now, I'm sure they're thinking, "Yeah, you washed our feet, and you dried it". No, no, no, there's so much more to this. "Do you understand what I have done to you? Do you understand, first of all, who I am and do you understand, secondly, who I've chosen to be to you? Do you understand what I have done to you"? Then in the next verse he says, "You see, you call me Master and Lord: and you say well; for so am I," Master and Lord. "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet".
What was Jesus saying? "Listen, I humbled myself, to conform to a servant. I want you to know just as I served humanity, I want you to serve humanity". He says, "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you". "I want you to do as I have done to you". Somebody says, "What, do you talking about going around and wash everybody's feet"? No, it's better than foot washing. He says, "What I've done to you is I've reduced myself from my title, from my rank, from who I am. I took on the form of a servant. I did a servant's job, I served you, and I want you to serve one another". Then he said in verse 16, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither is he that is sent greater than he that sent him". Jesus says, "You call me your Master and Lord". And he says, "Okay, if I can take on the form of a servant, if I can reduce myself to the duties of a servant," he says, "then I want you to do the same thing". And then, he said this, "And if you know these things, happy are ye if you do them". Look at that in the NLT. "Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them".
So, Jesus says, you know, what is it that they now know? "You now know servanthood. I've demonstrated to you servanthood, and now that you know servanthood," God says, "I will bless you for doing them, doing servanthood. I will bless you for serving one another. I will bless you for willingly submitting to the attitude of a servant, reducing yourself from whatever rank you're in, to reduce yourself for whoever you are and take on the form of a servant. And if you'll serve one another, now that you know these things, I will bless you for doing them". There're not very many people who would even believe that there is a blessing that comes when you take on the servant's heart, when you take on the servant's role. And yet when you make a decision to serve the kingdom of God, when you make a decision to serve one another so that people can be set free to serve God and serve the kingdom, God says there's a blessing when you do them. And you will be happy, you will be prosperous, you will be blessed because you've taken on the role of a servant.
And that's why I call this series "Servanthood: The Pathway to Success". A lot of people choose a lot of different paths to try to achieve success, and yet Jesus says, "Here's what I've done. Do you understand what I have done for you? Do you understand what I've just demonstrated? Do you understand the example? Okay, if you do this you'll be happy, and you'll be blessed when you do it". Man, that's a powerful thing. It's a powerful thing to know that you have dedicated and committed your whole life to the service of the kingdom and to the service of God and to not do it for selfish endings. In other words, the motivation behind why you serve is just as important as you serving.
Let me show you this as well. Go to Philippians chapter 2. Philippians chapter 2 and verse 1 through 8. There's a level of humility that's involved in this. Pastor Ken taught this a few weeks ago. There's a level of humility. Well, a level of submission that's involved in this, and are you willing to take on that role of a servant? And are you willing to humble yourself to be able to do that? Philippians chapter 2. I'm gonna read verses 1 through 8. I want you to follow this very carefully. Verse 1 says, "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if there's any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels of mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that you be likeminded," they're likeminded, "having the same love, being of one accord, being of one mind". Next verse, so, he says, "Let nothing be done through strife," all right? So, you're not comparing one another.
"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory," so you gotta be careful that you're not serving for selfish ends. Strife will be a result of it. Serving for selfish end, vainglory, will be a result of it, but it said, "Serve in a lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves". That's the attitude of a servant, verse 4. He said, "Look not every man on his own thing," or don't look at your own interests all the time. He says, "But every man also on the things of others". You've got to learn how to give more attention to the interests of other people than you give attention to yourself. And then, he said this, "Let this mind," or attitude, "be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus". "Let this mind," this attitude, "be in you, which is also in Christ Jesus". Well, what mind? What attitude? "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God". But look what he did, "Made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a," what? "A servant". Jesus took upon him the form of a servant. He said let this attitude, taking on the form of a servant, be our attitude. Let this mind be in you which is in Christ Jesus. Take on the attitude of a servant.
Now, we taken on so many attitudes in this world today, but very few times will you hear that someone has taken on the attitude of a servant. He said, "And he was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man," look what he did, look what he did, "he humbled himself". He humbled his self. You know, humility is a big part. You know, humility is when a person decides, "I'm going to submit myself to doing what matters to God. I'm gonna submit myself to what God's telling me to do". You know, the Bible says he gives grace to the humble. In 1 Peter chapter 5:6 he says he gives grace to the humble, but then he turns around and says cast all your care upon him because he cares for you. You know what he's saying? He says if you're really a humble person, you're gonna roll your care over on God because he cares for you. For you to keep your care and to carry your care and not roll your care over on God is for you to walk in pride and not submit and humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, under the instructions of God.
See, for you to ignore the form of a servant, for you to ignore this position of serving, it's really a prideful act. You're saying, "No, I'm not gonna have this attitude that God has. I'm not gonna have the same mind that he has about servanthood. I think it's ridiculous. I'm not gonna do it". He says you're in pride, and it's gonna take humility to accomplish the servant's heart, that you're not going to be able to operate in servanthood if you're not willing to humble yourself under what Jesus is doing. It's very plain in John chapter 13, when Jesus, you know, took his garment, the outer garment, off and put the towel on and took the job of a servant, and then Jesus said, "I did this as an example. I did this as an example".
Now, the next thing is will you humble yourself to this example of servanthood that I've given you? I don't see how anybody who's a Christian can just walk away from a message, a series like this and just decide, "Well, I don't agree that that's what Jesus meant". I mean, look at the example. The example was he did exactly what so many servants in all those homes did, and he took upon that, being the King of kings and the Lord of lords, as an example for us because he wants us to take hold of that attitude and that mindset and that position of a servant, so it's gonna require humility. You see, the fundamental issue in living as a servant, as those committed to meeting the needs of other people is a deep humility that is willing to pick up the servant's towel regardless of one's status in life.
Are you willing to pick up the servant's towel regardless of your status? Are you willing to pick up the servant's towel regardless of your rank? Because Jesus was willing to do that, and I believe that's the fundamental issue in living as servants and being committed to meeting the needs of other people, a deep-down humility that is willing to pick up the servant's towel and to do as Jesus did regardless of your status or rank in life. So, God calls all Christians. He calls all Christians to live as servants, serving others with the Lord Jesus as the perfect example of one who, through God, took upon himself and the form of a servant. I believe all Christians. How is that missing in the Christian life? How did we get entangled into the selfishness and the self-pursuits and the search for significance that the world's caught up into every day?
That should cause us to really examine ourself. There should be a difference in those who name Jesus and those who say they're followers of Christ and everybody else who's self-seeking and self-serving. That's not the attitude that God wants us to wear, but he wants us to wear that of a servant. You know, the real test, listen to this carefully, the real test of whether we are truly mature and learning to become Christ-like servants, the real test is how we act when people treat us like one. That's the real test. You hear what I'm preaching now and say, "Amen". And say, "All right, I'm gonna pick the towel up," but the real test is when people start treating you like a servant, the real test of whether we are truly maturing, 'cause that takes maturing. Humility to get into it, but maturing where this is concerned. That as a mature Christian I take on this role of servant, and I won't let anybody diminish that role. I won't let anybody come tell me, "You know, oh, you're just a servant". No, you won't diminish that role because I know how important that is before God.
And when I begin to mature and learn this Christ-like character and become this Christ-like servant, then how we act, how I act when people start treating me like one is gonna tell the story of my maturity and my growth as a Christian, who has taken up the towel to be the servant and to walk as Jesus walked. And so, this issue of servanthood is big, and I would imagine that there are some concerns about it. There are concerns of Christians who, you know, work so hard to get noticed and work so hard to be recognized and work so hard to find meaning in their life by serving other people. It's all selfish in motive, and it all has self-ending, so we know that it's hypocritical. As a servant, it's hypocrisy when we have those wrong motives, so let's address some of those concerns about servanthood.
You know, in seeking to develop a servant's heart, Christians naturally, I believe, face opposition that tries to move them towards promoting selfish concerns and pursuits of significance. Selfish concerns and pursuits of significance. In other words, promoting your concern, selfish, and your significance because you want meaning in life, you want value in life, and so I really wanna focus in on this. I want you to look at how people may serve because to them it's they find significance in that. And I'm not saying that something is wrong with you finding significance. It's just you should find significance in Jesus. You should find significance in your relationship with God. You shouldn't find significance in a hypocritical servanthood that makes you feel better about yourself, because at the end of the day it's the applause of people that you get that make you feel better. It's your diligence to try to be validated by people, and that's kind of like searching for significance in all the wrong places, and so let's look at the first concern, I think, that a lot of people may have.
Let's call this concern number 1: people too often serve others from their own unhealthy need for approval. They often serve others for their own healthy need of approval or significance, so you know there's a motive issue there. I'm serving out of my own. It's almost like there's this self-love that you're trying to satisfy and you're trying to use servanthood to satisfy that, when servanthood, if it's gonna be like Christ, it can't have a selfish ending to it. Our preoccupation with our own significance robs us of the ability to serve, so pre-occupied with our own significance that we don't find ourselves serving like Jesus wants us to serve. It robs us of the ability to serve because I'm so focused on my own value and my own meaning for life, and, you know, part of the problem is that in our society today such a selfish pursuit is no longer seen as unhealthy, abnormal, or disorder.
You know, if I were to say these things maybe 20 years ago you'd see the problem, but right now, today, it's like, "Well, what's wrong with that? There's nothing wrong with that". In fact, it's not only seen as natural today, but it is presented as a legitimate need and something that everyone should pursue, and look what you're saying. You're saying everyone should pursue hypocrisy in serving others if it makes you feel good, and I told you last week that's the number-one selfish thing that Christians have on 'em, as well as other people, is that "I wanna be happy, and I wanna be comfortable". And if all you ever pursue is you being happy and you being comfortable, even saying that "that's the reason why I'm serving you" like that mother who was worshiping Jesus only to get Jesus to show favor to her two sons. And that's not real worship. It's, finally, something that you do out of a heart, something that you do out of a pure heart, something that you do because what matters to Jesus now matters to you.