Devotion for August 9
By Mike Khandjian

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)

Albert Schweitzer famously wrote, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

Wittingly or unwittingly, his words reflected one of the powerful gospel paradoxes that Jesus taught: “…whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” (Matthew 20:26b).

We were blessed with a Dad who loved Jesus and quietly served our church. He was an elder, who one year (in retirement), devoted himself to painting the entirety of the interior of our large church complex in Miami. He wasn’t versed in deep theological terminology, didn’t posture for power, and never met a person he wouldn’t quietly serve, whether having us boys mow the single mom’s yard next door, or sending medical equipment to the Ivory Coast. When he died in 2008, nearly a thousand people attended his funeral.

It would be easy for the Church to be intimidated by culture and society, and the pressures that accompany them, with the assumption that we must fight fire with fire, but Jesus modeled servanthood – to his disciples, his detractors even his executioners. The fallen human condition gravitates us to power, but Jesus says, ‘Serve.’

The gospel alone counteracts the strangulating power of self-absorption. And gospel servanthood is as much an antidote as it is an attitude. Whenever jealousy and pride begin to consume my heart, repentance and a renewed determination to serve relieve me of the tyranny of self, and the rotten fruit of selfish ambition.

When we lessen the importance of servanthood, we actually cheapen our regard for Jesus, his life, example and sacrifice.

It was a servant girl who brokered Naaman’s healing, a servant (Joseph) who interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, then eventually led Egypt through famine. And it was a Suffering Servant that secured our redemption, Jesus, who with his life demonstrated that servants change the world.

Mike Khandjian is the senior pastor of Chapelgate Presbyterian Church.

Scroll to Top