Creflo Dollar - The Pathway to Success - Part 7
We've been talking about "Servanthood: The Pathway To Success". And one of the things we've discovered so far is if servanthood matters to Jesus, and it does, it should matter to us. And so, we're going to read from the Book of Mark chapter 10, verse 45. This has been our key Scripture for these series of teachings, and I just believe that as we come to the place of understanding how vital (now, I'm using that word on purpose), how vital it is for us to take on the form of a servant, that a lot of success in life that you're looking for, this is the pathway to that. Jesus said in John chapter 13, "If you will do this, you will be happy and blessed for doing it".
Now, that's pretty strong. It's a pretty strong promise because, you know, Jesus says, you know, "I'm watching feet. I took upon the towel. I took upon the duty of a servant in a house, and I wash your feet as an example for you to do the same to others". And so, Jesus wanted his disciples to know that he served humanity and that we are to serve humanity. And if you do this, the Bible says, you will be blessed. Let's begin in Mark chapter 10, and verse 45. Mark 10:45. He says, "For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto," or served. We said that we word minister means to serve. It means to serve. Now, that ought to let you know something. Any guy that calls his self a minister, but he doesn't serve, he's missing out on what it means. Leadership equals servanthood. And if you want to know what kind of leader you are, check out what kind of servant you are. And so this word minister in the New Testament is translated serve or servant. He says, "For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto," or served, "but to minister," or to serve, "and to give his life as a ransom for many".
Now, notice how Jesus served here in verse 45. He came not to be served. And I said to you the other day, had Jesus showed up wanting to be served, then you and I would have never received our redemption. We would have never received our deliverance. But notice how he served us. He came to serve mankind. He came to serve humankind. How? By giving his life as a ransom for many. Now, a ransom? What do you mean give his life a ransom? It was the ransom that needed to be paid in order to deal with man's sin. It was the peace offering. It was the promise that God had made to be that peace offering, to be that sin offering, to be that ransom, so that we can be set free from the consequences of sin in our life. Jesus came to serve. I mean he served by giving up his life so that we could have life and have it more abundantly because he paid the ransom for us to go free. That's a powerful thing. But he gave his whole life to serve us. He served us with his whole life.
And then he says, "I want you to take on the form of a servant". You remember the Scripture that says, "There's no greater love than when you will lay your life down for a friend". I mean, you've got to understand that everything can't be about you, but maybe sometimes, you got to lay some things down for somebody else. And so, that's very, very important. So, today what I want to talk about is, you know, what happens when servanthood is absent from your life. Well, you know, maybe you've been with me for the last three weeks and you're not convinced, and you've kind of decided, "Well, I don't know about that. I'm not interested in that," and so servanthood is absent in your life. I need to let you know, there are consequences for a decision that a Christian makes to not be a servant, not to do like Jesus and to submit to the form of a servant. There are consequences in the absence of servanthood.
And I want to begin today to talk about those consequences, and I want to be as plain and practical as I possibly can, because now I want you to know that when you make a decision not to take on the form of a servant, this is what matters to Jesus, then you also make a decision to receive those consequences in your life. And so, here's the first consequence, here's the thing that happens when servanthood is absent from your life. Number one, "The opposite of a servant's heart is self-seeking". So when you don't choose to become a servant, then you automatically choose to be self-seeking. You're going to be self-seeking if you're not a servant because the opposite of a servant's heart is a self-seeking heart. And what happens is, when you don't choose servanthood and you automatically choose self-seeking, then that self-seeking heart will lead to jealousy, it will lead to envy, it will lead to disunity, and it will lead to division.
Listen to me now, self-seekers are trying to figure out why is it that they struggle with jealousy and envy. Self-seekers try to, you know, figure out why is it that they are surrounded by disunity and division. This is the consequence of not taking on the form of a servant but taking on the form of a self-seeker, just interested in yourself. In Luke 22, in the NLT, Luke 22, let's look at verse 24 through 30. We've looked at this in other translations in the series, but I want to look at Luke 22:24-30 in the NLT. Because this is a very serious thing that when you're trying to be anything else other than a servant, you're going to find division there. You're going to find disunity there, envy and strife there. And so is the case with the disciples, when they were on a journey with Jesus. And verse 24 says, "Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them".
I mean there it is. There's strife there. There is disunity there. They're trying to figure out who is going to be the greatest one among us? I mean they're not understanding that the greatest one amongst you will be your servant. They're not understanding that when servanthood is present in your life, then we wouldn't be talking about who is the greatest one among you. But look what Jesus said in the next verse. "Jesus told them, In this world, the kings and the great men," what they do in the world system is they, "lord it over their people, yet they are called friends of the people.'" And in verse 26, he says, "But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant". Think of that. They're not many people today that are interested in taking the lowest rank. But Jesus said, "Then the leader of you will be the servant".
And look at the next verse here, "Who is more important"? he says. "The one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course". That's what they would say. He said, "But not here". He says, "For I am among you as one who serves". He says, "Sure, you'll say the one that sits at the table". And Jesus is like, "Hey, I know who I am and yet I'm the one that amongst you. I'm the one that's serving". He says, "You have stayed with me in my time of trial". Next verse, "And just as my Father has granted me a kingdom, I now grant you the right to eat and to drink at my table in my kingdom". So he says, "Here I am granting you all of this and yet I'm the one that's a servant". "And you will sit on thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel".
And notice, it's coming from the one who's the servant. "But before I get to this position, where I'm granting you to eat at my table, where I am putting you in a place where you're judging the 12 tribes of Israel," he says, "Right now, I have taken on the form of a servant because I understand the path to that position, the path to that rank is going to be servanthood". And notice something here in Philippians chapter 1, also in the NLT. Philippians chapter 1:27. Paul calls for harmony among the Philippians in the Book of Philippians, where there was evidently some disharmony because you see him really expressing to them to do things together.
Look what Paul said in verse 27. He says, "Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the good news about Christ. Then whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for faith which is the good news. There's no disunity". Paul's going against that and saying, "No, we don't want disunity". And so, Paul is speaking harmony. He calls for harmony among the Philippians. And also, while you're there, look at Philippians 2, verse 2, through 4 in the NLT. Philippians chapter 2, verses 2 through 4. He says, "Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, working together with one mind and purpose". Verse 3, he says, "Don't be selfish". "Don't be selfish".
See, you can only say that to people who are not servants. "Don't be selfish, don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves". See, this is a servant heart, Paul's trying to get them to. He says, "Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too". See, Paul begins to address to them the heart of a servant, and he says, "When this servanthood mentality is absent. When there's no service and no servanthood operating in your life, you're going to get disunity. You're going to get disharmony". Are you dealing with disunity right now? Are you dealing with disharmony right now and you trying to figure out? Dude, if I were you, I'd go in the mirror and I would look at myself and say, "Am I a servant like Jesus"? Amen.
Let's look at the second consequence when servanthood is absent. Number two, here's the second one. This is big. "Failure to get involved in ministry". When servanthood is absent from your life, there will be a failure for you getting involved in ministry, and I want you to think about it. I know you go to church but where are you involved? I believe in 100% percent employment. I believe that everybody that attends a church should be involved somewhere. But do you know that there are some people that just, they're not interested in getting involved. They don't get involved in giving. They don't get involved in helping people. They don't get involved in feeding people. They don't get involved in praying for people. They just don't get involved. Why? Because you don't have a servanthood heart. Servanthood is not present in your life. And when that's the case, you're going to fail to get involved in ministry.
You know, the same thing happened in John 13, you know, the disciples were sitting there looking at Jesus as he took upon the towel and washed their feet. But you know, it was evident that the disciples' behavior in John chapter 13, where they did not get involved. You see, the absence of a servant's heart causes people to simply just sit back while expecting others to serve them. When you have the absence of a servant heart, you will sit back and expect for other people to serve you, and that's not what this is about. And that's a mentality that the world carries today. They are looking for other people to serve them rather than taking on the form of a servant.
Number three. Number three. Here's the third consequence that as a result of a lack of servanthood in your life, "Burnout in those who are ministering". So when you refuse to serve, then especially in ministry, then those who are serving end up, burnout because, you know, they're doing it the whole time. And this can be caused by exhaustion simply because a few people are attempting to do all of the work. But burnout happens in the lives of people who are in ministry because those who don't have a servanthood heart, are just simply not participating where others are concerned. You see, I told you the other day that God fully intends on the church and the world to be blessed by the ministry of servanthood, and he intends for all of us to take on that form.
Number four. Here's the fourth consequence for the absence of servanthood in your life. Number four, "The church fails to accomplish what it has been called to do," in evangelism and all the aspects of edification because of a lack of ministry people. Think of that. Think of the churches' failure is due to a lack of servanthood in the lives of the people. That there's just not enough people who understand the pathway to success, and so God connects you to a church so that you can find that pathway to success, and then you go back to your job, or your career and things blow up in your job and career, I mean great success, and people are asking you what did you do? And then you think back at church, "Because I'm involved. I am a servant. I serve God. I serve others. And thank God for my church that gives me and grants me the opportunity and the avenue by which I can do those things".
This is so very, very important: failing in evangelism because of a lack of people to minister to other people. There are people that need to be fed. There are people that need to be witnessed to and ministered to. There are people that need to be rescued, and we do all those things. Prestige goes to these strip clubs and rescue these women off the polls. We have people that hit the neighborhood to rescue people out of darkness and bring them into the marvelous light. We have ministries to rescue people from just some tormenting positions that they've gotten themselves into. And man, we can always use more people to expand that footprint, to be able to make a mark in the lives of people that can't be erased. But as a result of it, I mean think about this, man, the church fails not because it's a bad church but because you were absent of servanthood. And that's something that the Scriptures, I think over the last three weeks, that I've made very plain to you, this is the will of God for every born-again Christian.
In fact, look at Ephesians chapter 4, verse 11 through 12, in the equipping of the saints for ministry, there is also the involvement of a whole body in ministry according to their gifts and according to their abilities of the saints. And, in fact, watch this, "And he gave," verse 11, "and he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors; and some teachers". Now, we refer to this as the fivefold ministry gift. Okay? Ministry gift. Remember minister is to serve. These aren't the guys just sit on the high horse and just serve them. They all have to serve in the gifts and the anointings that God has put on their life.
Remember, when I told you the anointing on you is not for you. The anointing on you is for somebody else. And then notice what the purpose of their service is. Look at verse 12, through their gifts they are going to serve by, "Perfecting the saints". So their job is to grow you up. Their job is to bring it to a place of completion through the ministry of the apostle, the prophet, the teacher, the evangelist, the pastor. Their job is to grow you up. No why are they interested in growing you up in the Word, and maturing you in the Word, and speaking the truth in love to you, and praying for you, and even in some cases rebuking, correcting and reproving you. Why? He says, "So you can do the work of the ministry". The work of the ministry, the work of servanthood.
See, we got to change our thinking when we see that word ministry. We think high horse. Their ministry and their servanthood is to provide food for you, to be an example, to watch over your souls, all of those things, to operate in that gift that God has put in that fivefold ministry for you to do the work of the ministry. So you're going to grow up, you're going to mature, so you can do the work of the ministry. All right, so what is the work of the ministry for every Christian? It is to edify or to build up the body of Christ.
So notice what he says. He says, "He's given fivefold ministry gifts so that they can perfect the saints, so that the saints can do the work of the ministry". And the work of the ministry by the saints is to edify and build up the body of Christ. And that's all servanthood. And if that were in operation today, the church would be so powerful. It will be so powerful, because the minister would begin to serve people, and you see it as a service. You don't see it as Hollywood. You don't see it as, you know, I'm the guy on the pulpit, you know, superstar. And you know, you don't see it as that. You're like, "I am a slave for the kingdom of God and for heaven, and I serve God, the kingdom and other people, and in this capacity, I serve these people".
And that's why it's not hard for Taffi and I to get online every day, through some way, because we're serving people. Why? Cause if we can build you up, if we can get you mature so you can do the work of the ministry, which is now edifying the body of Christ, look at how we multiply. It went from, you know, five gifts edifying to the whole church edifying. That's a powerful thing. And I don't think we understand what's on the line. When you look at an immature church, you have to go backwards. You look at an immature church because they hadn't been built up, and hadn't been built up because, you know, the saints aren't doing the work of the ministry. And the saints can't do the work of the ministry because the fivefold ministry gift has done a lousy job of perfecting the saints so they can be mature in the things of God. Amen.
And then look at this, in fact, I want you to look at Ephesians 11 and 12 and move on down to Ephesians 14 and 16, because I saw something very interesting here that, in fact, this whole deal is a mark of maturity. This is a mark of maturity. Verse 14 says, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie and wait to deceive". He said, "This is an act of maturity". What he set up through servanthood, is designed to mature the church. Go to the next verse here, verse 15. He says, "But speak the truth in love".
Now, who do you think you are that you decide, "Oh, I don't want to say that. That might hurt their feelings". Well, that's why he says do it in love. But sometimes rather than doing it in love, we refrain from doing it. Who do you think you are deciding, "Well, God, I know better than you so I'm just not going to tell 'em". Then a whole lot of people's lives have been negatively affected and impacted because God showed you the truth and you wouldn't speak that truth in love. He says, "But speak the truth in love".
Why would you want to speak the truth in love? You know, it's everybody's job to grow the body of Christ, and we see things and we don't speak the truth in love. "Well, the Lord didn't say nothing to me about that. Well, you know I'm just going to tend to my own business". No, no, no. Wait, wait, wait. When each of you have relationship with somebody, that gives you an open door to begin to speak some truth, you get all emotional and let them walk around in a lie, saying that you love them because you wouldn't speak the truth in love. And what you don't understand is when somebody speaks the truth in love, then the next time you see that person, they've experienced maturity and they've experienced growth because of servanthood heart.