November 18, 2021

A Servant Who’s Not Serving

Written by Tripp Prince

One of the deadliest mistakes we can make in the Christian life is to forget that we are servants made to serve.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 18, 2021

But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,  and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,  even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:25-28, ESV

I recently found myself in a familiar position: driving home from a child’s soccer practice as all 3 kids belted out Disney songs at the top of their lungs. The song of choice on this particular evening? “Be Our Guest” from the classic animated film Beauty & the Beast (though my children are quick to remind me that the animated film is the “old version” and the live action version is the real one, but I digress.) As they blissfully sang along, without a care in the world, I found my pastoral heart moved and animated in the most surprising of ways, namely by a single verse towards the end of this song that I’d heard dozens if not hundreds of times, yet had never thought once about. 

Life is so unnerving
For a servant who’s not serving

He’s not whole without a soul to wait upon
Ah, those good old days when we were useful
Suddenly those good old days are gone

If you’ll allow a theological reflection from a most surprising source, there’s much to be gained here! The joy, the sheer elation bursting forth from every note in this song, is rooted in the restoration of vocation. Creatures made to serve yet denied this core mission had lost sight of who they were and what they were meant to be. Without a life of service and care for others, they became, as the song reminds us, “flabby, fat and lazy.” Yet as Belle rushes onto the scene, they are shaken from their slumber and reminded of who they are meant to be. No other pastime or pursuit would fulfill or bring the happiness they long for: a servant is meant to serve!

One of the deadliest mistakes we can make in the Christian life is to forget that we are servants made to serve. 

If we take the wrong place at the table, seeking to be served or waited upon, we will close ourselves off from the very stream of life we were made to live within. And yet we so easily convince ourselves that happiness is found when we are the guest, receiving the service of others. Tempting as it surely may be, let us not be fooled, and instead find our true meaning and purpose in life as we look to the example of our Lord Jesus, who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).


Father, thank you for the example of service we receive from Jesus Christ. Give us the courage to follow him in the way of servanthood, believing it to be the path to true happiness and joy. Amen.


Are you too quick to let others serve you, removing the opportunity for you to discover daily the core vocation given to every follower of Jesus?

Related Reading

Luke 22:27; John 13:14; Philippians 2:5-11

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