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|The Joy and Blessings of Servanthood||07/31/2009|
Betty and I, along with our entire family, have been blessed beyond measure. Understand that I define blessings far beyond any monetary standard. We are blessed with a security that comes from above and a peace that passes all comprehension. We love God, one another within our family, and those outside our family. We find great joy and blessing in living to be a blessing.
The greatest teacher who ever walked on the planet was confronted and questioned by his disciples concerning what they perceived as their rightful place. They wanted to sit in a place of honor. Their measure was one of worldly recognition and position. Jesus corrected them, in love, but with a degree of firmness. He said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave -- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-27, NLT)
Jesus made it clear that servanthood is the greatest privilege and joy we can experience in this life. For more than 25 years, I was a very highly-visible itinerant crusade evangelist. Over 20 million people came to hear me speak. Thousands of people made public commitments to Christ. God blessed the preaching of his word and the evangelistic outreach.
One of the great problems of the high visibility that I experienced is the fact that people put me up on a pedestal. They put me in a place of prominence and, as many preachers do, I foolishly and unwittingly allowed it to happen. This is not a healthy place to be. God revealed to me that although I was an effective spokesman, I could be more effective by being a servant to others.
There is no way to adequately describe the blessings that I have experienced through the blessings of servanthood. Not everyone is blessed to speak as effectively or comfortably as I seem to be able to. God truly gave me a supernatural gift. Sadly, many people measure their effectiveness by the gifts of others and fail to recognize that although everyone cannot speak as freely as I can or with the same powerful effect, everyone can be a servant.
Betty has been an even more powerful example of this truth because people who watch LIFE Today can tell that she is shy and would be more comfortable at home being a wife, mother and grandmother. They see her sweet spirit and her servant heart. They've watched as she has travelled to the ends of the earth to simply serve those in need.
Please hear what I am sharing loudly and clearly: God multiplied the effectiveness of our lives and the impact of our lives through our willingness to serve others. We have seen suffering children in Romania, abandoned babies in China, orphans of the genocide in Rwanda, and countless hungry and thirsty people around the world. More than once have I asked God, "Do you want me and Betty to go to the mission fields and stay there reaching out to the helpless? Do you want us to do that?"
We are willing and ready to do so, but God has truly communicated to our hearts that this is not what He has called us to do. He calls us to inspire others to look beyond their world and make a difference in a world of need. He wants us to inspire others to help the missionaries who help others so they can continue in their crucial work.
The missionaries themselves have even said to me, "James, go home and tell others what we are doing. Encourage them to help us so we can continue the work, uninterrupted."
Betty and I yielded our lives to serve those who serve others. We didn't do it because we thought we would be blessed because of it. We did it to bless others. In so doing, we have been blessed beyond measure. Although monetary and material gain may be a part of our life's journey because of relationships, wise decisions or investments, that is not the measure of spiritual success. The true heavenly eternal measure is the difference we make in people's lives.
Betty and I have always enjoyed sharing life, love and help with others. We love to meet needs, and we rejoice that others have joined with us. From the time Betty and I married over 46 years ago, we have given ourselves joyfully to others. We are thankful that people express appreciation for any positive effect we've had, but our joy comes in pleasing God and knowing we have assisted the needy. We have never given with the thought of what's in it for us.
Jesus said that we can share with no thought of return (Luke 6:35). We don't love people because we think they might love us in return. We don't forgive because we think they will forgive us. We forgive because God forgives us. We love because God first loved us and put his love in us and it flows freely like a river. We do not give to get, we give to give. We don't give to be blessed, we give to bless others and that is blessing enough.
I love something our son said to us years ago concerning giving while thinking about what we might get in return. He said , "Dad, it's like kids giving their parents Christmas presents with the hope that their parents will give them something bigger." He said, "It would be like employees giving something to Bill Gates with the hope that he might give them something far more valuable. Both parents and an employer could feel manipulated."
I give to God and to others because God put it in my heart to do so. I've tried to help others not because I thought they would help me. I have a friend who recognized years ago that we had a health crisis coming in America that the medical community would not be able to adequately deal with. He had experienced health problems within his own life and family when he started a company to improve people's nutrition and wellbeing.
I said, "I'll gladly help you. I will interview doctors. I will do anything to help." He was amazed. He said, "No one has made that offer to me before. I never asked for anything in return. I just wanted to help people." But he said in return, "I want to bless you and Betty." I said, "Well, that's kind and gracious and we thank you." My offer was to help enable him to improve the lives of others.
Please understand, I know that people have to work to be compensated. They have to care for their family. But may I make a suggestion to you? May I suggest you follow the guidelines that I have observed our own staff and coworkers follow? Although they need employment and compensation in order to care for their families, we have found that the people on our staff, as far as I can tell without exception, want to serve alongside me and Betty and those we help around the world. Certainly they need to be paid, but the desire and expression of their heart is, "We want to help you help others. We want to be a coworker, a co-laborer, one who gets in the yoke with you and carries the load as a servant of the most high God, as a member of the family of believers."
I honestly believe that every person on our staff first serves God with all their heart, and I also believe they want to serve Betty and me through the outreaches of LIFE to help make us more effective, all to the glory of God. Even as you consider your employment and your employer, with all of your heart focus on making them successful, on being a blessing in the position that you hold. If you are currently in need of employment, look for a way to help other people, and go with the attitude that you're going to find a place to serve someone and help make them more successful.
This really should be the position of every leader in our country. It's sad to say today, but those who were chosen to be servants often become robber barons. They truly rob the successful to so to speak to give to the poor. We should care for the poor. We should provide for the poor, but it should come out of a compassionate heart of servanthood, not under the threat of elected officials who have moved from servant to robber barons.
We are watching some very negative trends within the church of Jesus Christ today, and within the leadership of the nations of the world, even with the "free world." In the guise of power, some are leading people into bondage, not a life of joyful life of servanthood.
We need to take a close, prayerful look at the trends in our country, starting with our own heart and our own life. However successful we are personally, will we still seek to be an inspiration, a blessing, and a help to others? Are we joyfully serving because it's in our hearts to do it as unto Christ? Remember, the more we bless, the more we are blessed.
Author: James Robison
Editor: Randy Robison
Word Count: 1602
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.