Mark 10:43-45 – But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus wants us to be different in the way we lead. He doesn’t want us to lord our power over others. He wants us to be servant leaders. Verse 44 tells us that our servant leadership actually looks like being a slave. Over the years I have found the best leaders are humble in attitude and are willing to serve in any capacity to make sure things are done.
I remember in my first job in retail, one of our regional store managers would say we need some shopping trolleys from outside brought in, he would put on a raincoat and come out with us to bring them in. I have never forgotten it. He was were still in charge, but he did what was needed to make things work well. I have seen this same type of leadership in church circles. Highly trained Pastors of big churches sweeping the front steps of the church to make it look nice for people coming in.
Serving Jesus is about having a humble attitude and doing what needs to be done. There is only room for one Lord, and that title belongs to Jesus! The rest of us are His humble servants.
Over the years I have been asked if I enjoy serving God in full time paid ministry or working in secular work more. My answer surprises most Christians.
The reason is I follow Colossians 3:23-24. It says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”
My heart is to work willingly at whatever I do. If am working at the hospital ordering medical equipment, working as the Pastor of the church, or doing some type of volunteer work, I treat them all the same. I think of myself as serving Jesus.
When I think of my work as serving Jesus it takes away the barrier between spiritual and secular. I am there serving Jesus, doing my work with a good attitude and trying to honour God in what I do.
So to answer the question – I enjoy/ed both. I enjoy working in “secular work” at the hospital and I enjoyed working in “spiritual work” as a Pastor.
The key for me, is to serve God where you are right now. And remember that ultimately He is the one who will reward you for your work for Him.
I was reminded from the red letters of the Bible the importance of loving and praying for our enemies. In Matthew 5:44 Jesus said this…
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
Imagine how different the world would be if we loved and prayed for our enemies instead of going to war or plotting how we culd get them back. Imagine if love was our focus rather than revenge.
Over the years I have had times when people didn’t like me or persecuted me at work. They were not enemies in the war sense, but they made my life very difficult for a time.
The times when things worked out best was when I committed to pray for them and asked God to soften my heart towards them. I asked to be an encouragement to them.
I found that if I had a good attitude towards them when theirs was bad towards me things would turn around. I would look for ways to encourage them, to compliment them or help them in some task. In time their barriers came down.
In some cases we worked together well and in others we became friends. Sometimes it was because of a misunderstanding and others it was because they had had a bad experience with Christians.
If you are having a hard time with someone who feels like an enemy towards you, try following Jesus’ advice. Love and pray for them and see how things change.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”.
In this verse Peter is reminding the people who they are. He tells them they are chosen by God, royal priests, holy and they belong to God. He goes on to tell them to declare they praises of Him who called you.
I believe as Christians we all have the role of proclaiming the praises of God to those around us. We need to let others know the great things God has done for us and the great things He is doing in the world.
Not everyone who is a Christian is an Ordained Priest or Minister who stands up the front in church each week. But as Christians I do believe we all have a pulpit to declare God’s praises from.
Our pulpit might be in our workplace, to our neighbours in need, in a children’s ministry setting, to our friends and family, at a mid week Bible study group, on a short term mission trip or it might even be on a website like this one!
So today I want to encourage you to think about where your pulpit is. Where is the place God wants you to proclaim His greatness from? Where is the place He wants you to share His great love for others from? What areas do you move in that God could use you in?
I watched an interesting show on the ABC recently. It is called “The People Watchers”. It is a team of psychologists who set up different situations and observe people as they do them. Afterwards they reveal their experiment to the people and ask questions on how they felt.
In the recent episode they asked two groups of three people to pick up rubbish in a inner city park at lunchtime. Lots of people were sitting around eating their lunch while the people worked. The first group picked up rubbish for 30 minutes. They were paid nothing as they were asked as volunteers. The second group did the same job, but were paid 10 UK pounds to do it.
Afterwards they spoke to each group and the results were surprising. The volunteer group rated the work 8 or 9 on an enjoyment scale and said they felt they were helping the community by making the park nicer for visitors. The paid group rated the experience as a 1 0r 2 for enjoyment and would not do it again.
I found this an interesting experiment as the volunteers thought they were helping and giving back to society. While the paid group could only focus on what a horrible job it was and couldn’t wait to get out of there. It was the same job, but the way they viewed it was totally different!
As I write Colossians 3:23-24 comes to mind. It says, “ Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving”.
I believe this Scripture is the key to real enjoyment and satisfaction in our jobs (both paid and volunteer). When we have the attitude that all we do is for the Lord, then we will serve wholeheartedly and get a lot more satisfaction out of all we do…whether we see it as a “good” or “bad” at the time.