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Day Thirty Four – Thinking Like A Servant

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Day thirty four of The Purpose Driven Life continues to explore servanthood. The book seems to be getting quite repetitive at this point, as this chapter finds Rick Warren simply restating things he has already said several times. He provides five attitudes that will be found in the mindset of a servant.

  • Servants think more about others than themselves. True humility is thinking of myself less while thinking of other people more. When I stop focusing on my own needs I am more able to see the needs of others around me, and this is what a servant’s heart is all about.
  • Servants think like stewards, not owners. I need to remember that God owns everything. Anything I have has been placed in my trust by God and I am responsible to be a good steward of it. It is impossible for me to serve both God and possessions.
  • Servants think about their work, not what others are doing. I cannot compare, criticize or compete with other servants or ministries. Any competition I feel is just me trying to make myself look good in the eyes of others.
  • Servants base their identity in Christ. Because I am loved and accepted by God I do not need to prove my worth. I need to willingly accept any job, no matter how “low” it may seem, remembering that Jesus is the ultimate example of humility.
  • Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation. I need to enjoy meeting needs and helping people. Because I love God and am grateful for His grace, I need to serve with gladness and realize that serving is my highest calling.

Bible Passages

Warren quotes the Bible nineteen times using nine translations and paraphrases. Generally he uses reasonable translations within their proper contexts. As he so often does, he relies heavily on The Message which continues to provide silly paraphrases. Consider Matthew 5:41 which in the NASB says “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” The Message says “If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life.” There are several other examples like this in this chapter. As I have mentioned before, I will likely devote an entire article to The Message at some point in the future.

Warren also quotes Henri Nouwen again (as he did in Chapter 14). Nouwen was a Catholic Priest who denied that a relationship with Jesus is necessary to be saved. (“Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God”) . Obviously this makes him a less-than-reliable source when it comes to the Christian life.

Question To Consider

Today’s question to consider is “am I usually more concerned about being served or finding ways to serve others.” I think that through much of my life so far I have been more concerned about having other people serve me. For example, I wanted to be in a church that would meet my needs while not making me actually do any of the work. I was also most happy in friendships where I did not need to work hard at the friendship to make it succeed.

After many years of this I came to the not-so-startling revelation that no one wanted to serve me any more than I wanted to serve them. There was no contentment and no joy in hoping other people would serve me. Where I have found real joy and real fulfillment is in serving others. Though at times it may still be a struggle, I truly have come to enjoy being a servant. I enjoy being able to help others, whether it be helping them if they can’t pay their bills or helping them move across town. I guess the principle here is that fulfillment will not just come to us – we need to be active in working for it.

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