Where I live, the temperature crept up into the flip flop zone today, and the sky was the color blue that makes you want to stand on top of a hill and spin around. You know what I mean, don’t you? Apparently, this clear, sunny, warm day also made everyone crave Chick-fil-a. Our double drive-thru lines stretched out to the street as cars full of people dangled their hands out of their windows. The employees were not rattled by the masses or the lunchtime challenge. No, if you’re going to work at Chick-fil-a, you have to be ready to answer every customer with a genuine “My pleasure.” Becoming an employee comes with certain expectations.
If anyone serves Jesus, you have to follow him. Becoming a disciple comes with certain expectations.
The Ultimate Servant
Just after announcing that the time had finally come for the Son of Man to be glorified, Jesus explained that when “a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,” it is able to bear a harvest. Knowing that he was about to sacrifice his life on the cross in order to offer the gift of eternal life, Jesus directed his words to those who would serve him and follow him. Instead of recruiting disciples with promises of an easy journey with guaranteed low pain and high prosperity, Jesus told the truth. He was going to be the ultimate servant by surrendering his life for others, and those who want to serve him will be called to do the same.
The Following Servant
To serve Christ the Lord is to be ready to answer every lost person with a genuine desire to sacrifice self as a follower of Christ. It may mean you forego a pleasure in order to make room for someone else. It may mean you give up your own recognition to defer to another person. It may mean you risk your reputation by claiming to know Christ Jesus. It may mean you surrender your life to a government that demands you renounce your faith. It may mean you run into a smoke filled Boston sidewalk just moments after a bombing to carry a victim to safety, because that’s what Jesus did for us in the conflict of eternity.
The Servant’s Truth
It’s unthinkable that we would serve Jesus and not follow him in a daily life of surrender. To be his servant is to be his follower. Modern church culture often sells a watered down version to entice would-be recruits to an easy grace, but Jesus tells it like it really is. Grace came with a high price, and to follow in the steps of the One who paid it, we must also live a life of surrender. For the genuine servant of Christ, it is possible to do the hard work, even the sacrificial work, of following because, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
The Servant’s Promise
The Chick-fil-a job application promises a positive work environment, competitive pay, training, flexible hours, and even fun employee outings. They’re looking for “friendly, enthusiastic people who enjoy serving customers.” That’s awesome if you’re Chick-fil-a, but Jesus asks for more and promises more.
- If you serve him, you have to follow him daily, everywhere, even to the hard places.
- You have to surrender everything, but you gain everything.
- He promised, “If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him,” (John 12:26b).
Jesus glorified his Father by surrendering his life, and he invites us to do the same. “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25).
To serve Jesus is to surrender your own agenda and follow him, and as you do, it will be his divine pleasure to welcome you to a present peace with him now and a perfect future with him for eternity.
- Has God ever asked you to make a sacrifice as His servant/follower?
- What scripture gives you confidence that God will enable you to do the hard things?