In the last edition I spoke about the first goal of discipleship – ‘Yahshua-likeness’, which is directed toward oneself. The focus there is for disciples to commit themselves to the task of becoming like their Master, and this required discipline. However, discipleship is not purely self-centred.
Yahshua reveals a second goal of discipleship – servanthood (see Mark 10:35-45). This relates to the disciples’ relationship toward one another. When two of his disciples approach him and ask for positions of incredible power and honour – one to sit at his right and the other at his left in his kingdom – the other disciples became upset and angry with James and John for wanting to elevate themselves above the rest of them. At that point Yahshua made it clear to them that the journey of ‘Yahshua-likeness’ required them to become servants also.
Disciples’ attitude toward each other is different from that which is normal practice in the world. Yahshua was emphatic about this. He said, “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all”. His point was, ‘If you want to be anything or anybody or be near to me in the kingdom then genuine servanthood is the benchmark’. Nothing else will do!
This attitude is opposite to the world’s view of success in Yahshua’s generation and certainly the present. In the world success is self-centred. It’s defined by the position you hold, how many people are under you, how much money you earn, the things you have, where you live, how many times in the year you go abroad on holiday, the class of people in your social network. Yahshua made it clear that this is not the way of discipleship. The disciples’ success is, in some way, measured by how effectively they have served others; how well they have given themselves for the sake of others.
There is a direct correlation between becoming like Yahshua and being a servant of all. Yahshua is the ultimate servant. He declared to his disciples, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”. He came to serve and if we have any ambitions of becoming like him (first goal of discipleship) then we must be prepared to be servants, not only of the Master, but to fellow disciples, and indeed the world (second goal).
To be a servant we must have a servant’s heart. It truly begins with an attitude of heart. We need to pray and ask the Father to help us to have a servant’s heart – without it we can’t be a servant. It would appear that Yahshua was not always a servant. A brief look at Philippians 2 will show what the Master did in becoming a servant of all. The passage states that Yahshua, “Who, although He existed in the form of [Elohim], did not regard equality with [Elohim] a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:6-8 NASB).
In the process of becoming a servant Yahshua ‘emptied’ himself. Meaning he laid aside the rights and privileges that were his being the Son of the Most High; he humbled himself and took on the nature of a servant.
As disciples we have to follow Yahshua’s example and empty ourselves of any rights that we think we may have and take on the attitude of a servant. Paul urges believers in their relationships with one another to have the same mind-set as Yahshua – to humble themselves to be servants. In discussing the servants attitude Paul encourages us by saying, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4].
The path of discipleship requires a devotion to seek to become as the Master, it also demands that we develop a servant’s heart and give ourselves to the service of others. How are you doing in achieving the first two goals?
Father, I want to be an authentic disciple. My heart is set on becoming like Yahshua – growing in knowledge of him and living the kind of life that is reflective of him. I am aware of changes taking place in my life as a result of seeking ‘Yahshua-likeness’; I am asking you now, Father, ‘help me to empty myself of selfish ambition; give me a servant’s heart, that I might serve you and those who are yours’.
For just as each of us has one body with many members...