Serve Others Without Expecting to Be Served

Serve Others Without Expecting to Be Served

For even the Son of Man did not come expecting to be served by everyone, but to serve everyone. Matthew 20:28

Joy comes when we join Jesus in giving away our life without expecting anything in return. Young moms do this everyday—they serve those who can’t (and sometimes won’t) serve them. A mother wipes bottoms, wipes runny noses, wipes food encrusted faces—not necessarily in that order, ha!—all out of love and devotion to their little gifts from God. Barbara Bush rocked the

cradle of a President of the United States—perhaps she prayed for her son George W. prior to his days in the White House, when as a young man he battled with alcohol:

Dear Lord, bring my boy back to You. I have done everything humanly possible to selflessly love and serve him. He is Your child, Your creation, so I trust You to do whatever it takes to awaken him out of his sinful slumber and draw Him by Your Spirit to see himself as you see him: forgiven, loved and precious in Your sight. Thank you Father, in Jesus’ name, amen.


Her prayers were answered, her son was able to complete his God given assignment to become the leader of the free world. Sometimes our best service is to pray for someone and trust the Lord to do a work of grace in their hearts. Prayer serves the Lord’s greater purposes in His timing for His glory!

What Does it Mean to Lead by Serving, Not Expecting Anything in Return?

Servant leadership is service to others. It is not jockeying for position, nor is it politicking for power. Instead, it is posturing for the opportunity to serve. This does not bode well for the insecure soul in need of abundant attention. Servant leaders avoid the limelight and serve in ways that often go unnoticed. It is the little things that make a servant leader. It may be taking out the trash at home, or making the coffee at work.

No task is too menial for the servant leader, but there is something bigger than behavior that distinguishes a servant leader. It is attitude—an attitude of how to make others successful. He or she knows if those around them are successful then there is a good chance they will experience success. They are wise to want what’s best for others.

Self-service on the other hand builds a culture of mediocrity. It is all about taking care of my little world, not giving any thought to the needs of other team members. It is every man for himself – survival of the fittest. This self-service contributes to a scarcity mentality. If I serve you then you may look better than me—you may get all the credit.  This fear of not being noticed facilitates competition instead of cooperation.

Humble Leaders Share the Credit for Success

Servant leadership on the other hand is not caught up with getting the credit. The servant leader has put to death the need for self-recognition. The attention and credit can easily flow to others. This is the place where it belongs, as our humility cannot handle the attention. Like a lily-white body in a tanning booth, our humility burns up. Servant leadership resists this temptation to linger in the limelight. Instead, the servant leader may give away opportunities that come his or her way. Seek to serve and let status find you.

Jesus served quietly on most occasions and boldly as needed.  No sincere seeker was neglected. His motive was to serve for the glory of God. His ultimate service was laying down his life for the human race. Consequently, followers of Christ can become a better servant leader because Jesus seeks to serve through you. You can’t, but He can.

Submit to Him and watch Him use you to serve. Die to getting attention and credit while celebrating the success of others. Quietly volunteer for the next lowly task. Set up others to succeed. Give away your life and you will find it. This is the way of Christ. This is the way to serve and lead. Submit to God, serve people—and others will follow!

“If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me” (Matthew 10:39, The Message).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of Jesus who came to serve and not be served, in His name I pray, amen.

Application: Who can I serve without expecting to be served by them?

Related Readings: Exodus 18:26; Zephaniah 3:9; Ephesians 6:9; 1 Peter 4:10


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