Caroline Cirualo taught an great Bible study on Servanthood on 7/10/13. She graciously sent me her notes – I’m posting them here – including her highlights. Check out the questionnaire at the end of the study. Hope your day is blessed. = Heather
What led me to this bible study?
Genesis 24:1-14 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. How many things? 2 So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, (Administration)
“Please, put your hand under my thigh, 3 and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; 4 but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”
5 And the servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?” (Abe’s strong answer) adamant Not where I came from
6 But Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there. 7 The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. 8 And if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be released from this oath; only do not take my son back there.” 9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter. Two more times
My point is 500 miles……It’s hard to get people to DRIVE 50 miles in the car
Did he say: Are you kidding me?
10 Then the servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed, for all his master’s goods were in his hand. TEN 10 poopin camels……… NO DOGGIE BAGS! Camels are very strong and can carry loads weighing more than 900 pounds although it is more typical for them to carry no more than 450 pounds. X 10 is 4500lbs
And he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. 11 And he made his camels kneel down outside the city by a well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water. 12 Then he said, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham.
13 Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. 14 Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.”
A CAMEL DRINKS 25 TO 30 GALLONS OF WATER X 10 is 250 gallons Eliezer is looking for a woman with a servants heart and is servant minded..
Normal ‘amble speed’ for a walking camel is 3mph; a working camel will typically cover 25 miles a day. 20 plus days
A camel’s poop is so dry you can use it immediately to start a fire.
But what exactly is servanthood? Servanthood is the state, condition, or quality of one who lives as a servant. (Not just on Sunday, Special occasions etc. one who lives as a servant
A servant is first of all one who is under submission to another.
For Christians, this means submission to God first, and then submission to one another. Then, as one in submission, the servant is one who seeks to meet the real needs of others or of the person they are serving.
To put it another way, servanthood is the condition or state of being a servant to others, of ministry to others rather than the service of self.
Christ’s plan and that which produces maximum blessing to the world and to the church is s servanthood.
The Lord Jesus came as a servant with a commitment to serve. Just think, if He had come to be served, with a self purpose, our redemption could and would never have taken place. Keep the perfect law of Moses.
Jesus said, Mark 10:45 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Are we servant minded?)
Today, unfortunately, there is much more concern for self-fulfillment than there is for truly serving God and others as seen in the life of Jesus.
True servanthood has one motive…To please God!
We must be careful that the underlying motive and goal is not some form of self love, then one’s service is in reality hypocritical.
This type of service is really aimed at serving selfish ends—usually in the futile pursuit of personal significance through something like praise, power, or status.
If we serve with an expectation of return, we’re not serving, we’re investing.”
How do we serve? Either we will seek to serve ourselves, a choice that nullifies our capacity to live as disciples, or we will learn to live as servants out of a faith relationship with God through Christ.
In Matthew 6:24, the Lord stated it this way, “No one is able to serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. No one is able to serve God and possessions”
When we serve money/possessions/status/ etc., we are really serving ourselves and our own desires for how we expect to benefit. This desire then controls our values, priorities, and pursuits rather than God.
Matthew 20:20-28 20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” 22 But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.”
23 So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”
24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. (some people serve for authority)
26 Yet it shall not be so among you; who is you! but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Footnotes:Matthew 20:22 NU-Text omits and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.
- Matthew 20:23 NU-Text omits and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.
(what do you think the disciples were thinking?
They were thinking that such status would give them happiness and significance, they wanted positions of authority, praise, and power.
Our Lord’s answer showed that first of all they had been wrongly influenced by the attitudes of the world (vs. 25). Rather than thinking with the mind of Christ ….
Philippians 2:5 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
True discipleship involves submission and service. Are we a disciple?
Matthew 23:11-12 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Greatness in God’s kingdom is never to be found in position or power OR in the praise and opinions of men, but in servant-like service to others.
Luke 22:24-27 A dispute also started among them over which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 So Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called ‘benefactors.(ONE that confers a benefit) ’ 26 But it must not be like that with you! Who is you!! Instead the one who is greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is seated at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you who is I? (leaders of leaders, king of kings, lord of lords) as one who serves.
John 13:1-5, 13 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”
7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” 8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
John 13:12-17 12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? Do you get it?
13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them Who is you?
Here, in the upper room on the night before His crucifixion the Lord Jesus dramatically drove home the issue and nature of what it means to be a servant.
Imagine the scene. All had been prepared for this last meal with the disciples with the exception of one thing. According to the custom of the day a servant, with a basin of water and towel in hand, would wash the feet of the guests who had walked down the dirty, dusty roads of Palestine. This was expected part of hospitality
But who would take the position of this servant and perform the task? Can’t you just see the disciples looking around expecting someone else to do this, but never for a moment considering it themself.
Then out of the blue, as a perfect picture and lesson of servanthood, the Lord Jesus rose to the task, laid aside His outer garment, put a towel around his waist, took water in a basin and began washing the feet of the disciples, all of which was a fitting analogy of yielding His privileges and assuming the role of a servant
The source of Jesus’ actions lay in His knowledge and security of who He was and where He was going .
Jesus was completely aware of His sovereign authority, His origin, and coming destiny as He submitted and depended by faith in what the Father was doing and saying. Are you aware of your authority and destiny?
In that confidence, He voluntarily took the place of a slave and washed the feet of His disciples.
His thinking and action contrasts sharply with the self-seeking insecurity of the disciples, none of whom were willing to pick up the towel and take the place of a servant When you are Secure in Christ,,easy to be a servant like Jesus ,,.Self seeking hampers servanthood
Christ’s security, His love, and His confidence in the Father allowed the Lord Jesus to assume the position of a servant, an amazing example of condescension (vss. 4-6).
This attitude, faith, and action portrayed His entire ministry on earth
Philippians 2: 1-9 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
This provides us with the perfect example of what He wants to do in our lives.
This also demonstrates how servant living is accomplished in us—through faith and understanding of who we are in Christ and by confidence in the eternal glories of the future.
After Jesus finished washing the feet of the disciples, He returned to His place and made this very pointed application:
Having pointed to His actions as an example for them, Christ then drove home an inescapable lesson, here defined as a “solemn truth.
If He, their master and the One they worshipped, assumed the role of a servant to minister to others, then certainly they must likewise take the towel of servanthood and minister to others rather than seek to elevate themselves. This principle also applies to us.
COULD STOP HERE
Conditions that Hinder Servanthood
What are some of the hindrances to developing a servanthood mentality.
The desire for status or to feel important is a tremendous barrier to biblical servanthood. This is very evident in the reluctance of the disciples to take the towel and the position of a servant as seen in John 13.
Human strategies to meet one’s own felt needs pose another hindrance to servant living. Everyone faces the problem of meeting their felt needs by using their own solutions, defense and escape mechanisms (i.e., the things people do to protect their self image or how they want to people to feel about them). Rather, our need and responsibility is to trust the Lord for our acceptance, our ability, our production, and our strength.
A poor concept of one’s self-worth, along with a faulty source for developing our self-worth, forms another hindrance to effective servanthood.
People often seek their self-worth from the opinions of people rather than by the value God places on their lives according to His Word.
Seeking happiness from the world rather than in the Savior and His purpose and call on one’s life is another cause for failing to live as servants.
This results in a lack of commitment and wrong priorities and pursuits which will leave little or no time for the Lord or ministry to others and the body of Christ.
CAN STOP HERE
Consequences in the Absence of Servanthood
What, then, are some of the consequences of a lack of servanthood in the body of Christ?
1. The opposite of a servant’s heart is self-seeking, which leads to consequences like jealousy, envy, disunity and division.
Leonard Bernstein, the celebrated orchestra conductor, was once asked, “What is the hardest instrument to play?” Without a moment’s hesitation he replied, “Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists. But to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm, or second French horn, or second flute, now that’s a problem! And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony. Without the servants heart we have no harmony
Failure to get involved in ministry. The absence of a servant’s heart causes people to simply sit back while expecting others to serve them. Some see the minister as someone paid to minister to them. The attitude is, we are here to be ministered to rather than we are here to be equipped for ministry.
1 John 3:1-3 (AMP) 3:1 See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) us is that it does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him. 2 Beloved, we are [even here and] now God’s children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall [as God’s children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is. 3 And everyone who has this hope [resting] on Him cleanses (purifies) himself just as He is pure (chaste, undefiled, guiltless).
What is the message here?
1 John 3:1 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.
- 1 John 3:2 Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown, A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.
- 1 John 3:2 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies.
What we need then, is to seek John’s sense of well being and happiness from his identity in Christ and not from people or from position
Man’s obsessive pursuit of significance produces thinking and behavior that runs counter to the values and behavior that are consistent with Christ-like servant living.
It invariably leads to defensive and protective behavior patterns that put self above others.50
(3) Finally, another important element in living as servants is living according to the perspective of eternity, having eternal goals and values.
If this was true with the Lord Jesus, and it was, then it must also be so with us
Right here we must see the difference between choosing to serve and choosing to be a servant. When we choose to serve, we are still in charge. We decide whom we will serve and when we will serve. But when we choose servanthood, we give up the right to be in charge. There is great freedom in this. If we voluntarily choose servanthood, then we cannot be manipulated. When we choose servanthood, we surrender the right to decide when we will serve, where we will serve or who we will serve. We become available to our Lord and Savior when HE wishes..
1. What is the definition of servanthood?
2. How can servanthood be selfish?
3. What are the two options regarding servanthood that Jesus gives us in Matthew 20:20-28?
4. In Luke 22:24-30, what do we learn about our preoccupation with self-centered interests?
5. What is the result of our impatience and our desire to be served now?
6. How does Jesus model servanthood in John 13:1-5 and 12-17?
7. What is Paul’s warning to us in Philippians 2:3-5?
8. In developing a servant’s heart, what two concerns might stand in our way?
9. What does the search for personal significance produce?
10. If we are not constantly checking our motives for serving, what might our results be?
11. What happens if we do not find our significance in Christ?
12. Please list the three conditions that hinder servanthood?
13. What are the consequences of the absence of servanthood? Be specific.
14. According to Philippians 2:5-8, why did God the Father exalt His Son, Jesus?
15. In developing a servant’s heart, what reality must we face and how do we deal with it?
16. In what areas are you serving the Body of Christ?
17. What drew you to serve in these areas?
18. Describe the feelings you experience when serving in these areas?
19. What motivates you to continue serving?
20. What kind of praise do you receive from others for the service you perform?
21. How does praise make you feel?
22. Would you continue to serve in an area where your work was not recognized? Why?
23. List the areas of your life in which you are served?
24. How do you react when others fail to serve you in these areas?
25. What must you do, beginning today, to acquire an authentic heart of a servant?