Joyce Meyer - Becoming a Servant - Part 1
Thank you for joining us today on "Enjoying Everyday Life". You know, Jesus did die so that our sins could be forgiven and we could go to heaven. But he also wants us to enjoy the journey. John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to kill steal and destroy". But Jesus said, "I came that you might have and enjoy your life, and have it in abundance (to the full, until it overflows)". And we want you to enjoy your life. I believe that the only way we can do that is if we live by the Word of God. So, every day on this program we teach the Word of God. And prayerfully, you will learn something today that will help you be even happier. Because the more we do the will of God, the happier we all are.
I wanna teach today, tomorrow, and the day after, so for three days on what makes a great man great. You know if I just ask a question, "How many of you wanna be a great man or a great woman of God"? Everybody I'm sure would raise their hand. I know I wanna be a great woman of God. I don't wanna just be a woman of God, I wanna be a great woman of God. But what we think is great and what is great in God's eyes are two entirely different things. If I were to say, "What do you think makes a great man great or a great woman great"? You might say things like, "Well, your status in society, or who you know, if you know important people, or how far up the ladder of success you climb. How far you're able to go in your career, how much money you have," and things like that. But that is not what God says.
In Matthew 20, verses 20-28 it says, "Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down," in front of Jesus, "Asked if he would do her a favor. And he said, 'well, what is it that you want'? And she said, 'grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right hand and the other at your left when you come into your kingdom'". And I want you to pay particular attention to this. Jesus said, "You don't know what you're asking". You see the thing that we forget sometimes is that with every privilege comes a corresponding responsibility. Now, I really wanna make sure that you hear what I'm saying. Because we're great at wanting privileges, but, not always as great at doing the responsibility part. And in our society today in particular, it seems like people are being less and less responsible each year that goes by.
And so Jesus said, "You don't know what you're asking for". To be given those positions would've required great sacrifice and great responsibility. And he said, "Can you drink the cup that I'm going to drink"? And he was talking about the cup of suffering. And of course, she answered, or the boys answered right away, "We can, we can". You know, we always think we can until it comes down to the doing of it. Saying what we're gonna do is much easier than actually doing it. "And Jesus said to them, 'you will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant to you. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father".
So, I want you to understand today that whatever your position is in life, it's where God wants you. Now, obviously, we can prevent ourselves from being promoted by not obeying God. But assuming that you're a serious believer in Jesus and that you're doing everything that you believe God's asking you to do. And let's just say, maybe, you know, there was an empty spot at your office and somebody was going to be promoted into it. And you really wanted it. And you prayed and asked God to give it to you. But, somebody else got it.
Well, it can very well be a test for you to see are you gonna be happy for them? Are you gonna pray that they'll do well? Or are you gonna be jealous of them and resentful? If God wanted you in that place, he could've put you in that place. And if you have a good attitude, God can also put you somewhere that would even be better than that place you thought that you wanted. But, even when you're talking about something like being promoted into a position at work. A lot of times people don't realize that with every promotion comes greater responsibility.
My husband, before he came into full-time ministry, many years ago, he worked in the engineering field. And they had—he was a draftsman and they had job captains over each design job. And these job captains had to travel and they had more responsibility. And they made a little bit more money, but not really that much. And they offered Dave the opportunity to become a job captain. And to be honest, with my aggressive nature, I thought he was just crazy for turning them down. He told 'em he didn't want it. And I said you know, "What's the matter with you? Don't you wanna go forward in life? Don't you wanna better yourself"? And he said, "Joyce, I'm not gonna make that much more money. I'm gonna have to travel. I'll be gone from home. And it's a lot more responsibility, a lot more stress. And the benefits don't really match what the aggravation is going to be".
Well, actually, he was being wise, but I didn't see it at the time. Because all I could think about was, you know, "Get a better position, get a better position". I didn't really know then what true greatness was either but apparently he did. You know, a truly great man or woman of God is in the place that God wants them to be in. And the apostle Paul said, "I've learned," and we do have to learn. "I've learned how to be content, whether I'm abased or abounding". And you know what it really was that Paul learned that whatever place he was in was the place where God wanted him. And it was his job to be content in the place where God has him. And some of you really need to get this today because you're discontent. You feel like you should be in another place. And only God can bring true promotion in our lives. If we try to promote ourselves, we always just end up in trouble.
So, if you're not where you think you should be, and you're jealous of people who have the position you think you should have, then why don't you take this as a lesson today, and realize that you need to be happy for the people whom God has put in those positions. And know, you can absolutely know and depend on the fact that when God wants to move you into another position, there's nobody on earth and no demonic power that can keep him from doing that. You belong to God, you're in his hands. And if you keep a sweet attitude like he wants you to, God will bless you tremendously in your life. "'you don't know what you're asking. Can you drink the cup that I have to drink'"? Oh, "'we can, we can'". "And Jesus said, 'well, you will indeed drink my cup but it's not even mine to give you that position, that's entirely up to God'. When the other ten disciples heard this, they were indignant with the two brothers". "Well, who do these two guys think they are? Why should they think that they should have that position"?
Yes, even these twelve chosen men that Jesus prayed all night before he picked them, they were jealous of one another. And they even had arguments about which of them was the greatest. Can you imagine traveling with Jesus, and while you're walking down the road arguing about which of you was the greatest? They had some problems with their flesh just like we do. "Jesus called them together and said, 'you know that the rulers of the gentiles Lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. But it should not be so with you. Instead'", now, listen, "'whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant'". Wow.
Well, you know, in the world today, a servant position is kind of considered a lowly position, but in the Kingdom of God, it's considered a high position. We get things backwards in the world. Jesus said, "The first will be last and the last will be first," and we just don't understand that. He said, "If you want more, you gotta give away some of what you have". And we think if in order to get more, you gotta keep everything you can get your hands on. "'and whoever wants to be first, must be your slave, just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many'". So, if we wanna be like Jesus, we have to be willing to serve.
Well, what does it mean to be a servant? First of all, don't look at it as something lowly or bad. Jesus was a servant. And we're supposed to follow him, because he's our master. But, to be a servant, it means to do all you can for other people. Let me tell you five great words. One sentence that is powerful. "How can I help you"? If you have that attitude toward the people that you know, "How can I help you"? Or you ask them, "How can I help you"? That's one of the greatest attitudes that you can possibly have. "What can I do to help you"? "How can I serve you in your life"? And that's something to spend time thinking about in your prayer time. Think about the people you're gonna be with that day and just ask God, "Show me how I can help them today. Show me how I can serve them today".
We want everybody to serve us. But we need to be willing to serve other people. And if you're anything like me, you're probably gonna have to do it on purpose. You know, I don't naturally have the gift of helps. I'd much rather somebody help me. But, I know that God wants me to be a servant leader. And so I need to lead by example, by doing things for other people. And sometimes I'll say, you know, to the Lord, "What can I do for Dave," for my husband? Because a lot of times we're willing to do something as "A ministry" in a church that we won't do for our own family at home. And so, last time I asked the Lord that, "What can I do for Dave"? He said to, "Make him a cup of coffee and take it up to him in his office".
Well, makin' a cup of coffee doesn't sound like much unless it's Dave's coffee that you're making. Because Dave doesn't really drink coffee. He drinks milk and sweetener with a little bit of coffee, stirred in it. So to make Dave's coffee, you have to make the coffee. Then you have to heat up some liquid whipping cream. And you have to get out the milk and heat up the milk. And then he doesn't even want the whole coffee pod, so you pour half the coffee out. And then you put all the milk in, and then he likes three artificial sweeteners in it. And so, it's quite a commitment to make Dave a cup of coffee. But, it's amazing how just doing little things for people can enhance your relationship and keep it strong and together.
I wonder how many fewer divorces we would have if people that are married would have the attitude of "How can I serve you"? "What can I do for you"? But, so often we get married, and the only thing we have on our mind is what you should be doing for me. And really if we would serve other people and put ourselves in God's hands, telling God what we want, then he would always give us more than what we could possibly even imagine. Another way you can serve people is by praying for them. I have somebody sitting here in the studio right now that you can't see that is praying for me while I'm ministering to you. And this particular woman has prayed for me for over 30 years. And it's one of the greatest gifts that you can give people is to pray for them.
We need prayer. That's one of the greatest things that we need in our life. You can just help them with whatever they're doing. You can just help them. If you know a single mom, who just gets really worn out because she's maybe working two jobs, and taking care of three kids. And the man she was married to doesn't pay child support. And maybe you could just offer to babysit one whole day so she could just have a day of peace. Or maybe you could give her a gift certificate to take her kids out to lunch. You know, if we will just get ourselves off of our minds long enough to really spend some decent time praying and asking God, "What can I do to help somebody else"? Our lives would be so much better.
You see, one of the things that God has taught me, and that I wanna share with you today, is you cannot be happy and selfish. Please remember that. Some of you that are unhappy, your problem could be that you're just selfish and self-centered. And even though you're a Christian and you love Jesus: you're not really doing anything for anybody else. Now, don't get mad at me. God had to tell me that. I couldn't understand why I wasn't happy. I mean, I had a successful ministry, I had a good husband. I had four good children. We had a nice home, two automobiles. We didn't have any financial stress. But still I wasn't happy. I didn't have that contentment. And I asked God, "What is my problem? Why am I not happy"? And he told me, "You're selfish".
You know, if you really wanna know what's wrong in your life, ask God. And you might be surprised. He might tell you somethin', but it may be something that you're not gonna want to hear. We serve God by serving others, and that's one of the best things to remember. Any time you do something for somebody else, you're actually doing it unto him. Jesus told some of the disciples, I think it's in Matthew 25. He said, "You have sheep and goats. And when I come back there's gonna be a time, where the sheep will be divided from the goats. And the sheep will go to my right hand and the goats will go to the left". And then he went on telling this parable. "'I was sick and you came to visit me. I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was in need and you helped me'. And they said, 'Lord, when did we do that for you'? He said, 'if you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me'". Those were the sheep.
And you know sheep are pretty easy going, they follow easy. I always like to say sheep say, "Baaa". But goats are always saying, "But, but, but, but". Goat Christians always have an excuse for why they can't do, what God is asking them to do. And "Then he said, 'but those of you on the left, I was sick you didn't come to visit me. I was hungry you didn't feed me. I was thirsty you didn't give me anything to drink'. And they said, 'well, when were you like that and we didn't help you'? And he said, 'if you have not done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have not done it unto me'". Can we understand today that Jesus takes how we treat other people very personally. If you do something for somebody else, God takes it as if you're doing it for him. So, if you wanna serve God, you can't serve God unless you're willing to serve people.
Let me say it again. If you wanna serve God, you can't serve God unless you're willing to serve people. Serving God is not just having a pulpit position. Or being the worship leader in your church. Or being the head of some committee. And even if you have all of that, you still, have to do the things that normal, regular Christians do. And one of them is to serve other people. Some of you may feel like, "Well, you know, I'm just in the helps ministry and all I do is, you know, I clean the bathrooms at church". Well, you know what? Our people that clean the bathrooms here in this building, they get to work, some of 'em 3:30 in the morning, before any of the staff gets here, and they're cleaning up after somebody else's mess. And you know, they're probably some of the greatest people in the building. And then, when all the bosses come in, people think, "Well they're the great ones". But, maybe God sees it differently than we see it. God doesn't see the way man sees. He sees the heart.
You know, I feel good about this today, and I think it's gonna really help somebody. What are you doing for somebody else? Don't get caught up in titles, and making a big show out of everything, just be simple. Be yourself and be a servant and do what you do unto the Lord. Matthew 23:1-12, I won't read it all but, "Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 'the teachers of the law and the pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But don't do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach'". You know, it's very important to me, that I'm not a phony. And that means that I can't tell you what to do, and then not do it myself. And he said, "Your teaching people the law, you're tying up all these heavy loads, and puttin' burdens on people, telling 'em do this, do this, do this, do this". But he said yet, "You won't even lift a finger, to help them do it".
So, we need to make sure that we are doing what we would tell other people to do, even your children. You know, don't tell your children not to lie, if you're gonna tell them, when the phone rings and you don't wanna talk, "Just tell whoever it is, 'I'm not home'". We teach people more by our actions than we do even by our words. Especially, if our actions don't match our words. "Everything they do," he said, "Is done for people to see: they put on a big show. They love the places of honor at banquets. And the most important seats in the synagogues. They love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. And to be called 'rabbi' by others, but you are not to be called 'rabbi' for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. The greatest among you will be your servant". Wow. "For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted".
The word "Servant" defined in the Greek, because that's the language the New Testament was translated from, presents the idea of "Subjection without bondage". In other words, you can submit to somebody without feeling like that you're in bondage doing it. You see it as a privilege, not something as a deficit. If I'm your servant I can submit to you without feeling that I'm in bondage or that I've lost any of my freedom. 1 Peter 2:16 says, "[live] as free people, [yet] without employing your freedom as a pretext for wickedness: but [live at all times] as servants of God". One of the greatest things that we can do, is be a true servant of God by serving other people. Romans 6:22, "But now that you've been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life".
And one last scripture for today, Ephesians 6:5 and 6, in the Amplified classic, "Servants (slaves), be obedient to those who are your physical masters, having respect for them and eager concern to please them, in singleness of motive and with all your heart, as a [service] to Christ [himself]". How many people get miffed or get aggravated, even if their boss tells them to do something or not to do something? Jesus says, "Don't be like that, have a right attitude, have the attitude of a servant. And have a good attitude about doing whatever your masters ask you to do". "Do the will of God heartily and with your whole soul". We are to serve one another through love.
Today, we're offering you some wonderful resources. Three teachings called "Do Unto Others". It's amazing how many scriptures talk about what we are to do for others. And also a booklet about "Loving God, loving yourself, and loving others". Always invest money and finances in the Word of God. Because it is one of the greatest, most powerful things that you can have. And I believe this message today, spoke to some people. And you need to hear more about serving other people. So, order these resources today. And listen to them and let them be a blessing in your life. Thank you for joining us today. And I pray you'll tune in again tomorrow when we continue teaching about what it means to be truly great.