And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But 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 slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”Mark 10:42-45 English Standard Version
In Mark 10, James and John have the audacity to stand before Jesus and ask that be granted places at His right hand and at His left when He sits on the throne of God’s kingdom. Can you believe the gall of these two? Meanwhile, all the rest of the disciples in earshot get huffy because James and John are making a naked play for power.
Jesus, of course, know that His kingdom does not operate like the kingdoms of the world. The kingdom of God is not about power, position, and prestige. Rather, it is just the opposite. The kingdom of God is about service and humility. It is about laying oneself low in order to be a blessing for others. This is the way of King Jesus who gave up His life that we might have new life.
If we want to be like Jesus, we must learn to walk in His footsteps. Or, to use King Jesus’ own words to James and John, we must learn to drink the cup He drinks (Mark 10:38). If we want to be disciples of Jesus, we must learn to serve. We must lay down our feelings of entitlement, our privileges, our rights, all of it, we lay it all down in order to serve like Jesus did.
One of the many things the Holy Spirit does in our lives is that He equips us for service. He provides spiritual gifts to empower us to do the works of service He call us to do.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.1 Corinthians 12:4-7 English Standard Version
Your spiritual gifts, combined with your heart, abilities, personality, and experiences together make up your unique SHAPE for service. This is some great news! Serving does not mean drudgery. Serving does not mean I have to do only those things that I hate most. Rather, the God who made you, knows you, and He forms you to serve His kingdom in the very ways that make your heart glad.
This does not mean serving others is always a joy. It is hard work. However, when we serve out of both our gifts and our passion, we are able to weather the difficulties more easily. And as always, we serve not out of our own strength, but out of the strength King Jesus provides.