|From the Preface
At the height of the Renaissance,
Niccolò Machiavelli wrote The Prince, a book regarded by
many as the political masterpiece for achieving power, wealth, and success.
It remains a bestseller today. Machiavelli wrote that people are motivated
by fear and envy, and desire for wealth and power. His worldly perspective
contrasts sharply with the gospel paradox: many that are first will
be last, and the last first (Matthew 19:30), and blessed are the
poor in spirit...the meek...those who mourn...and those who hunger and
thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:3-6).
Jesus’ message turns the world’s values of power and fulfillment upside
Whoever would be great
among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must
be your slave – just as the Son of man did not come to be served but to
serve (Matthew 20:26-28).
The gospel shows us the way to true
freedom and success. I doubt that the topic of Christian servanthood will
ever make the world’s bestseller list. But if we want to achieve true happiness
and fulfillment, Christ offers us the surest way.
My task in writing this book is to
train and equip people, especially members of the Sword of the Spirit,
for Christian service. The Scriptures and the testimony of the early church
fathers bear witness to the transforming power of Christ’s love and his
way of servanthood. The heart of a servant is the heart of Christ himself
who said, I came not to be served but to serve and to give my life as
a ransom for the many (Matthew 20:28). There is great joy, freedom,
and strength of character for those who live this way of love and servanthood.
Paul the Apostle tells us that God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5). It is
the transforming power of God’s love that can change not only individuals,
but families and communities, old people and young, into servants of Jesus
Christ who seek to live and serve together as a community of disciples
This book is not an exhaustive treatment
of Christian servanthood, but it does seek to give an overview of what
the New Testament says about servanthood and about the disciple’s relationship
to Jesus Christ.
The book aims to show how we can
orient our lives and everything we do to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christian
servanthood is first and foremost a way of loving and serving others as
the Lord Jesus has loved and served us, laying down his life for us. It
seeks to expose how the world and Satan can mislead us into serving ourselves
for personal gain rather than serving the Lord for his glory. It explains
how one can grow in the servant-like qualities of the Lord Jesus. Whether
you are a mother or father, married or single, a student or a worker, you
have the same call – to be a disciple and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ!
[Don Schwager is a member
The Servants of the Word
and the author of the Daily Scripture
Reading and Meditation website.]