PUT OTHERS BEFORE YOURSELF

Tuesday, 2nd Week of Lent

            “The greatest among you must be your servant.”

            Humble service is the way of Christ, and should be the way of every one who seeks to follow him. Such a person must concentrate on helping and serving, and not on ordering, being helped, or being served. What Jesus is telling us is this: If we are seeking for greatness in God’s kingdom, we must find it, not by being first, but by being last; not by being masters, but by being servants. For Jesus, greatness means to be other-centered, other-oriented.

            William Barclay has this commentary and reflection: “It was not that Jesus abolished ambition. Rather, he recreated and sublimated ambition.” “For the ambition to rule, he substituted the ambition to serve.” “For the ambition to have things done for us, he substituted the ambition to do things for others.”

            The Lord is telling us to make service our primary motive and our main reason for doing whatever we do. What we should aspire for is not to be rewarded but to be able to help and serve our neighbor. We should not be looking for recognition, appreciation, position, promotion, and acknowledgment – they come from a distorted sense of entitlement. Rather, we should be constantly asking ourselves: “What more can I do to be of greater service to others?”

            At any given moment we have a choice: to serve or to be served. We can choose to do things with kindness and generosity, instead of expecting others to be kind and generous to us. We can choose to say words of affirmation to those who try to do good, instead of demanding recognition for performing our duties. We can choose to serve by being good stewards of God’s gifts instead of using others to protect our ambition and interest.

            I heard a pastor who said, “If you want to be somebody, put others before yourself.” “Jesus put you before himself.” “Jesus is great, not only because of what he did, but why he did it: He humbly put you before himself.” “Jesus was not looking for glory. He was looking for you.”

            This is a very important Lenten message to us: “The greatest among you must be your servant.”

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