Power to control. That’s what Jesus is talking about in the passage in Mark. The Gentile “rulers” (though the same applied to many of the Pharisees and scribes, as well) lorded their power, influence, and wealth over others, and controlled them. When this passage is used, often we get “stuck” on our servant part, rather than seeing the underlying relational truth. Those with power, influence, and wealth are held at a distance (even by those with power, influence, and wealth themselves). Servants are close at hand. In a place of trust, servants are able to influence and nurture others. One really can’t say that about those with power, influence, and wealth.
Service is strongly implied in Jesus’ words of the restoration of Peter: Feed (twice) and shepherd. Used twice, βόσκω (boskō) can mean feed, take to pasture, or take care of. Used only once, ποιμαίνω (poimainō) means shepherd, take care of, and guide. Feed appears to be more of the immediate physical concern, while shepherd is more along the line of long-term thriving. This is a great picture for pastors to concern themselves with. It is also the picture every one of us should be using as a lens to look at others with. We are called to “feed” their immediate need twice as much as their thriving. Many of us concern ourselves with the thriving, and neglect the immediate.
Service isn’t an option. How you serve is your individual expression of service as worship. Peter passed along the call to serve, “…as good stewards of the varied grace of God.” That is an interesting concept. Often we talk about stewardship in regards to money. Peter talks about being stewards of God’s grace. God’s grace is poured out on the just and unjust, just as it is poured out on the saved and unsaved. Just because there’s plenty, does not mean we are not responsible to steward it.
1) Our culture claims to value servants. It doesn’t. The church seems to reflect the culture. How can we improve how we value the servants of the church? Who are the servants of the church? Who aren’t the servants of the church?
2) Why do you think there is that 2-to-1 ratio between feeding and shepherding? How should that inform your life?
3) How will you serve tomorrow? How will you serve today? How will you serve next month? Does the service always have to be the same?