What is a servant disciple? A disciple is a follower – and in the Christian faith almost always means a follower of Jesus. A servant-disciple follows Jesus in name and action. Jesus said that he came “not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45). As servant-disciples, regardless of the environment we find ourselves in, we look for opportunities to be of help and service to others.
• In Christ, I am part of the family of believers and will look to do good to all people, especially my brothers and sisters.
Doing Good to All
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Take a minute to read Galatians 6:1-10. When disciples tire of doing good (which happens to many of us), the Apostle Paul encourages us to look at the bigger picture, to remember who we are and why we do what we do. Keep your perspective. Filling sandbags can be a tedious job to do, but saving a house with filled sandbags can be a motivating dynamic. Don’t lose sight of the fact that God is using your life to build his kingdom and bless his people.
Father God, keep my perspective oriented around You. With such a mindset, I can better serve my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish
1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus Reinstates Peter
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Read John 21:1-19. Despite Peter’s recent letdowns as a follower of Jesus (such as his denials of Jesus and wielding the sword inappropriately), Jesus assigns a ministry role for Peter. He is given God-ordained work to bless others: Feed my sheep. It is not a stretch to anticipate Jesus would restore other disciples too – like you and I. Its one more facet of forgiveness. Don’t let past failures discount you. God still counts you in. And remember, you don’t need a title to serve, just a calling from God.
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” ~ John 21:17
Father God, as you worked with the Apostle Peter, work with me. As you assigned him a role of service for your people, assign me. As you helped him grow into that role through faith and life, help me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
~ Apostle Paul
Maybe you are anxious today; maybe not. Either way, take this lesson above to heart and apply it to your personal prayers. If you don’t already do so, add a time of thanksgiving as you present other requests. Let this typify your prayers – and keep listening and looking for answers to your prayers! Doing so spawns more thanksgiving and less anxiety as you see God’s work and presence in every situation.
But what should you be thankful for? You could start with any past answers that relate to your current anxiety. (“God, I know you have handled this with me in the past – thanks!”). Consider basics like the daily bread mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer: Food, clothing, shelter, supplies, friends and family. You are welcome to thank God for his grace, mercy, forgiveness,; for fresh starts, new days, safety – for Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now then, on to praying:
Father God, I do want to participate in your Divine nature, in your holiness. Thank for you for your gifts, for your promises and for your goodness that comes to me through Jesus Christ my Lord. May I honor you by the way I live my life, trust in your promises, and celebrate your goodness. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
God certainly gives daily bread without our prayer, even to all the wicked; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to acknowledge this and receive our daily bread with thanksgiving. Daily bread includes everything needed for this life, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, fields, cattle, money, goods, God-fearing spouse and children, faithful ser¬vants and rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, order, honor, true friends, good neighbors, and the like.
~ Martin Luther, explanation to 4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer
Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?
This prayer is from King Solomon, later labeled the “wisest man in the world” by some. It sounds like that prayer hit home with God! Of course, you don’t need to be a king to desire and pray for a discerning heart. In order to imitate Solomon and pray for the ability to be wise and distinguish right from wrong, let’s review, repent and return to God.
Where have you been placed to oversee and help others? Who looks to you for insight? Over whom do you have influence? How are you involved in the lives of other believers? How are you serving God by serving other believers? Is there a way to serve at your local church that is currently needed?
Repentance could relate to thinking you are already wise enough, thinking your influence is insignificant, using your influence poorly (misleading), or lacking a servant’s heart.
Humble yourself before God, acknowledging that you want and need His wisdom to live as His child. After doing this, move into the following prayer or one or your own.
Father God, like young King Solomon, I see myself as Your servant, called to carry out duties and live my life in Your name. Give me a wise and discerning heart about how and when and who to serve. Teach me when to speak and when to keep silent. Let Your Spirit lead my spirit that I may influence people with Your love and grace, inside and out of Your church family, to Your glory. Amen.
Nothing helps us to stay humble more than service. At every juncture when his disciples argued and were divided over "greatness", Jesus emphatically talked about being a servant, yes, even a slave, to those they led. Jesus himself served at the table, washed his disciples' feet and commands that we do likewise. If we want to lead people, we must serve those very same people... Serving those under us bring our pride to the forefront and tests our willingness to be humble.
p.108-109, Prideful Soul’s Guide to Humility, Fontenot/Jones
Father God, test my willingness to be humble. Let me serve. Have Your Spirit lead me to recognize who I can serve in response to Your call. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
How does Jesus continue to make himself known? Jesus continues to live out his life on earth through his corporate body, the church. The "body of Christ" is not just a figure of speech but conveys the reality that Christ lives through his people. Together God's people extend the life of Jesus to the world
(Discipleship Essentials, Ogden, p. 175).
Lord God, help me learn how to be part of the body of Christ in practice – not in name only or merely as a figure of speech, but in reality. Lead me to serve real people, doing real service, under a real command of Jesus in whose name I pray. Amen.
The Request of James and John
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
This brief story reveals a great deal about life inside the church. An initial request asking boldly for coveted seats at the right and left of a kingly leader brings out something else: differing perspectives on service inside the spiritual community (often called the church).
On one hand (a human perspective) is concern over the leadership dynamic of serving: Role, place, title. On the other hand (God’s perspective) is a sacrifice dynamic: What its going to take, cost, or require.
Beyond these is yet a third perspective that reveals the sinful-yet-real underbelly of service in a church: Jealousy and envy that arise over what others seek or get while serving. But look! Right in the midst of it all is the Lord Jesus reminding everyone of his followers, his disciples: Your role is to serve not be served.
Father God help me to learn from Jesus and be like Jesus, being present to serve. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is one of Paul’s many blessings, shared often at the beginnings or conclusions of his letters. It’s simple. Complex is unnecessary. Imagine if we could have this mental language operating when approaching others in life. It is similar to approaching or leaving others with a phrase the Lord be with your or peace be with you. What a blessing that could be! Try practicing this (even if only in your head) as you move in and out among people.
[Pray about whatever God has put upon your heart.]