Working to be a servant
Today in our 5th grade Grapple Sunday school class, we started a new unit of study called, “Why in the World?” Our first lesson was about, “What Difference Can I Make,” and today we discussed what it means to be a servant.
As Christians, we are called to be different and live differently than others in our culture. In our church bulletin today, there is a flyer ad for Financial Peace University with the headline, “Normal is Broke. Be Weird!” In some ways, we are called to “be weird” as Christians living in a world that does not believe in Jesus or follow him. The city of Austin, Texas, has a public relations campaign called, “Keep Austin Weird.” We are not called as Christians to be weird for the sake of weirdness, but instead to act differently according to the instructions of Jesus.
We are also called to not believe and follow the messages of the world, when it comes to “being great.” When we look at a current pop star, like Taylor Swift, we may get the wrong idea of what it means to be “great.” You don’t have to be a rock star, have a wonderful singing voice, wear Ugg boots, or do other things we see pop stars do to “be great.” Jesus tells us we need to be leaders, and lead is to serve.
Jesus came to earth not to be served, but to serve. Jesus was a revolutionary during his human life on earth, but did not advocate a violent revolution like others have. Sometimes when we hear the word “revolution” we might think of communist revolutionary leaders like Che Guevara or Mao. Some of the people who lived when Jesus walked the earth as a human were thinking their Messiah would be a military leader and help overthrow the Roman empire. Jesus did not lead a violent revolution, however, he lead a revolution in thinking about what it means to lead and to be great. The basis for leadership and commendable living is SERVICE.
We read and discussed three Bible verses today to explore what it means to serve and be a servant. The first verse was Mark 10:42-45. In it we read:
Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage."
These words of Jesus were the basis for a speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared on February 4, 1968, in Atlanta, Georgia, called “The Drum Major Instinct.” You can hear some of that speech, in Dr. King’s own words, by visiting the homepage of The King Center in Atlanta. We listened to these words today in class. Dr. King is making the same point we read about in Mark: the definition of greatness needs to change. Jesus tells us that to be great, we must serve. This is what Jesus did and the example he set for us, and we need to become servants as well.
We also read Luke 10:38-42 and Romans 12:1-3 to discuss ideas and examples of being a servant. In Luke’s verses, we discussed how Mary and Martha were both serving. Serving does not just mean doing housework and chores, like Martha was. Mary was also serving Jesus, by sitting at his feet and listening to him. Today it is very easy to be distracted. It can be a big deal to give someone our full attention. We talked about how this is true in relationships. We can serve our parents and each other by giving others our full attention, and not being distracted by other things in our lives.
This week, please talk at home about what it means to be a servant and the ways we can serve others. We are going to create a 30 second video next week that can be a “public service announcement” for others about being a servant. Today at the end of class, we watched the PSA “Think Before You Post” and talked about how this video gets people who watch it thinking about changing their behavior. We are going to creatively try and create a similar video, with the theme of being a servant.
Please come to class next week with ideas for how we can make a video about being a servant.