Improving Your Serve

Improving Your Serve

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
—Philippians 2:4

This week we are talking about how to develop a servant’s heart. We have seen that we are never more like Christ than when we are serving other people.

Servanthood simply means meeting the needs of other people, whether that need is a loaf of bread, a cup of water, or an article of clothing. If we truly serve other people, we are going to put their interest above our own interest.
Think about it for a moment. Very few people you run into on a given day need something to eat or need something to drink or need an article of clothing. Nevertheless, we encounter people every day who have needs we are capable of meeting. And if you truly have a serving heart, you are going to put the needs of people above your own needs. For example, let’s get specific— painfully specific. Husbands, for you to be a servant means to put your wife’s need for conversation in the evening above your own need to unwind after a hard day’s work. Wives, for you to serve your husband means to put his need for respect and admiration above your need to correct him. Parents, to serve your children means to put your children’s need for a quality education above what you think is your need for early retirement. That’s what servanthood is. It is putting the needs of others above our own.

And let’s be honest: servanthood comes neither naturally nor easily. You know, from the first time we draw our first breath, we are programmed to think, Me, my, and mine. It is part of the DNA we inherited from Adam to be selfish. After all, you don’t have to teach a child to do that, do you? I mean, what baby do you know who has the attitude, “Mom, I know you’ve been up all night. Go get some rest and you can just feed me whenever you feel like it”? Do you know a baby who ever thinks like that? And by the way, it doesn’t get better the older we get, this proclivity we have for me, my, and mine.

Well, since getting older is no guarantee that we’re going to automatically become a servant and learn to place the needs of others above our own, how do we develop a servant’s heart?

Not long ago I was watching an infomercial on TV. And the infomercial said that for $29.95, you could call an 800 number and receive a DVD that would help you improve your golf swing. On that DVD, you could watch an expert golfer swing his golf club and hit the ball. If you would just watch that over and over and over again and imitate his actions, then you could hit the golf ball as well. You know, back in the apostle Paul’s day, there weren’t any DVDs to order. But in Philippians 2, he tells us how we can improve not our swing but our serve—how we can become better servants. And the way we do that is by watching and imitating the life of Jesus Christ. That’s what Philippians 2 is all about.

Now, the church at Philippi was divided by doctrinal differences and by personal conflicts. So Paul wrote to this church and gave these words: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3–4). In other words, Paul is saying, “Learn to put the needs of others above your own.”

How do you consistently put other people’s needs above your own? Well, Paul spells it out beginning in verse 5. He says, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” You want to know how to become a servant? Look at Jesus. Read the Bible and watch His actions. Imitate them in your own life, and then you can learn how to improve your serve.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Developing a Trusting Heart” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.