The Fruits of Servanthood 4 (Influence Multiplied)
Through the years, I have had many leaders in many situations. I only remember details about two types and two types only: those who were harsh and those who were servants. Both types have led me to pray a lot. The former caused me to pray for patience and forgiveness and for them to repent and change or be taken out of leadership roles. The latter caused me to offer many prayers of thanksgiving. Many prayers—long after I was under their leadership, even after their deaths in some cases (think Wyndham Shaw). Between the harsh ones and the servant ones were the majority whose leadership I experienced, but I don’t remember too much about them. I suspect that they were focused on themselves enough to keep me from being so. You will be remembered by those whom you hurt or serve, but by few others. When you reach old age, if you are fortunate enough to live that long, you will think about your legacy, what you are leaving behind of yourself in the hearts and lives of others. Do something about it now by imitating God in being a servant.
In speaking about basic human needs, or love languages, acts of service are always included. It is my primary love language. I thank God for those who have served me and are serving me now. At the top of my prayer list, a long list, is my request for God to bless those who have been praying for me to be cured of cancer and who prayed for God to spare my life while I was in the hospital sitting with God on the brink of eternity. I can’t stop from shedding tears when I think about those in this category. Why? Because they are servants—they served me.
I imagine that some, perhaps many, who knew of my serious illness were never moved to pray at all. But I know for a fact that large numbers of my friends prayed earnestly and frequently for my healing, and still are. I wrote this near the beginning of September 2022, and then the jury was still out on whether my cancer was cured or not. Due to the severe reaction to the chemotherapy medication, I only took a partial amount of it. After getting out of the hospital, the radiation treatments resumed. I trusted that God had heard enough prayers from his servants, who are also my servants, to let that suffice for a cure.
After the radiation treatments were finished, I had to wait three months for further testing since the radiation continues to work for three months after treatments end. On September 19 (oddly, my father’s death date), I went back to the surgeon who found the cancer and this time after I awoke from the anesthesia said that she took no tissue samples because there was nothing there to take. Exactly two weeks later, the radiation oncologist said in our virtual appointment that the MRI scan taken a week earlier was perfectly clear, so she would see me a year from then for another scan. The surgeon will do a check every three months, at least for the first year. To be honest, it didn’t sink in quickly. The early diagnosis which turned out to be a false/negative made it harder to believe. What was quickly and easily believed is that the huge number of prayers for my healing by my spiritual family all over the world made all the difference. I will never be able to thank them enough. There are no words…
We all have the basic human needs of being accepted; thus we fear rejection. We want to be approved, to be included, to be considered important, hopefully even essential to those with whom we associate. Do you not think that servanthood will gain these rewards, and far more? We don’t serve to be served in return or give in order to be given to, for serving is its own reward. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Considering others more important than ourselves brings benefits far beyond what we might expect. Jesus changed the world by being the world’s greatest servant. You can change your world by being the best servant you can be, with God through the Holy Spirit enabling you to keep growing in this capacity.
Selfishness is natural; selflessness is unnatural. Yet, as with most things, what comes natural is of the world and what takes genuine effort and self-denial is of God. Trust him that his way, the Via Dolorosa, is the path to glory. It will change you, and better, it will change others. Influence is about helping others rather than impressing others, which makes true leadership servanthood, from beginning to end. Trust Jesus enough to trust that fundamental truth.
The greatest influence you can possibly have on another’s life is helping them become disciples of Jesus. If first becoming a Christian, coming into a saved relationship with God through Christ, is our first priority, guess what? We should feel compelled to see that as a starting place in being a servant to others, helping them find that same saved relationship. Although I didn’t attend the recent Summit Conference in Orlando, I did watch a lot of it virtually. The very first thing I watched addressed the topic of raising up the next generation.
All three presenters came at the subject in somewhat different, but complementary ways. Kevin Miller spoke about campus ministry and what they were doing in Boston. He didn’t speak about what they ought to be doing; he spoke about what they were doing and had been doing recently. He had two impressive younger generation disciples speak as a part of his presentation. It was all so convicting. It reminded me of why I was attracted to this family of churches in the first place. I saw in action the majority of the membership having a determination to imitate the mission of Jesus, “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). As we seek to influence and serve others in every way possible in imitation of Jesus, let’s not forget what our first priority with others should always be – helping them know Jesus.