Week 48 – Service: The Imitation of Christ

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…


I view my relationship with Jesus in feudal terms. The King conscripted me into His service — and there is no greater honor on earth.

Today’s bureaucrats hold meetings. Ancient kings held feasts. Jesus summons me to dine from His Table, and thereby become part of His Body. He issues me His uniform, a robe of His righteousness, so that I can represent Him everywhere I go.

Jesus assigns me noble quests to pursue. When we meet, He debriefs me, and acts on the information I provide Him. He recalibrates me, encourages me, and sends me out on my next assignment.

His feasts are raucous, exuberant, events, where the company of the called, companions of the quest, compare notes and encourage each other. Blessed are those who are invited.


Service: the Imitation of Christ

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you” (John 15:16).

In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says we are God’s workmanship (Translated, His “poetry”), created for good works. Through our great salvation, we are called to serve and give our lives away. Our works and opportunities are before us every day. What we believe in our hearts is shown in our attitudes, words and deeds. The Scripture puts it this way:

“Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’ You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” (James 2:17-20). In other words, real faith is active.

God has appointed a variety of ways and arenas through which we are to serve Him.

Arena Service
In our FAMILY God has called us to be servants in our family. Husbands are to serve their wives (Ephesians 5:28-29), and even as God has appointed parents to serve children, grown children are to serve their elderly parents (1 Timothy 5:4).
In the CHURCH Christ calls us to serve in His body, the church. We serve the church through faithfulness and investing the spiritual gifts He has given us (1 Corinthians 12). We are not called to be spectators, but working members of the Body (Ephesians 4:16).
In our WORK Work is God’s calling for man. When God placed Adam in the garden, He gave him a job – before the fall (Genesis 2:15). Thus, in God’s perfect world, there is work. God also says that in the professions we have, we are actually serving Him as we work (Colossians 3:23).
In the COMMUNITY The church is called to be the problem-solvers of society. The Bible repeatedly reminds us that God’s people are to help effect justice (Proverbs 24:11-12) and provide for the poor (Matthew 19:21).

Thus, faith is not only a dedication to personal holiness, but also a rolling up of our sleeves to do God’s works of grace in the earth until He returns.

As Christians, we have a totally different approach to work and service than we had before we knew our Lord. Outside Christ, in what the Bible calls “the world,” man seeks glory and profit for himself and the satiation of sinful desires:

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16)

In all the areas of service God calls us to, whether our family, work, church or society, we are to serve with a new heart – a heart that goes low and lifts others up, rather than seeking to promote oneself.

Working with a heart for serving does not exclude us from prominent positions.

Indeed, God will exalt those who are humble. From Christ’s perspective, you can be a president of nations and still be a servant.

Term Motives Expects Verse
OLD man selfish ambition, pride, fear prizes earthly rewards, discounts heavenly rewards “…whoever exalts himself will be humbled” (Matthew 23:12). “And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor” (Ecclesiastes 4:4).
NEW man humbling self to serve others God’s rewards and blessings “…and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…” (Luke 16:10).

Approaching all opportunities with a heart for serving others places us in good company, even that of our Savior and King, our Lord Jesus: “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). This was a revolutionary statement in a world where the guy at the top was to be served vs. give his life away.

As we do God’s business His way, He’ll take care of ours. Many great business leaders have served many by providing innovative goods and services at affordable prices. Although these men and women may or may not have been Christians, they grasped the wisdom of what Jesus said about providing the best service to many. Many become rich, but because they are giving and serving, the world never seems to mind.


  1. How can we imitate Christ?
  2. How can we serve God and others in the various arenas of life?
  3. When God calls us to areas of service, what should be our heart attitude?