Tag Archives: servanthood

Just Do It!

Message transcript of September 6, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

The mission of Nike, Inc., a renowned international athletic shoe and apparel company, is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world,” and they quickly add, “if you have a body, you are an athlete.”

Nike started from humble beginnings where employees were selling shoes out of their cars to become the world’s leader with global revenues of over $27 billion dollars.

The name “Nike,” originating from the Greek goddess of the same name standing for “victory,” has been around for over forty years, and over that time it has defined and redefined the sports fitness industry, but not without its own missteps. The company misjudged the popularity of the aerobics and fitness movement in the mid 1980s and veered off into the casual shoe market. Its growth also outpaced its management and effective decision-making, and it had slipped from its position as the top-selling shoe.

To reverse this trend, Nike hired Weiden+Kennedy, a well-known advertising agency, and they came up with the one of the top slogans of the 20th Century, “Just Do It,” which made its debut for the company in 1988. The words “just do it” propelled Nike’s popularity to its top position in the industry. Three years after the debut of “Just Do It,” the company had tripled its revenue to over $3 billion dollars, and has not looked back since.

“Just do it” may be a catchy slogan with staying power, but it is readily acknowledged as the language of today’s lifestyle that inspires people to get up and move. It is associated with good health, getting and staying in shape, and remaining active in all parts of life. This also has application within our faith.

Consider that the words “just do it” for Jesus Christ reflect a healthy relationship in service for Him. James expresses this very clearly as he addressed believers in Christ with the importance of a working faith:

James 2:14-17 ESV

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

A servant of Jesus Christ absolutely needs to live under the premise of “just do it” in order to live as Christ provided His life as an example for us. We are to live as servants of Christ in a world where servanthood is more of the exception than the rule. Chuck Swindoll notes, “we live in a world where many have adopted “an independent, self-sufficient, survival-of-the-fittest mentality.” God has called us to be distinct in a positive way in the world, and to make a difference. The difference is living the “just do it” way as Jesus did:

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life-—a ransom for many.

Jesus provided a demonstration of what it is to be a servant by washing the feet of the apostles. He provided an explanation for them when He was finished:

John 13:12-17

When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

Jesus showed them the power of servanthood, which is the essence of living a Christlike existence. To be in service for Christ is to live for Christ. He assures those who are living for Him that He will always be present in whatever is being done in His name:

John 12:26 ESV

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

You can see how “just do it” can be a launching point for a person who is eager to serve Jesus Christ. Being a servant requires a willingness to do it and it takes practice to begin to master it. But what if you don’t know where to begin this process? In this instance, the best place to begin is the beginning.

  1. Just do it (now)!

Being a servant begins with a willingness to do something that will bring a positive change in someone’s life. It does not necessarily require that you need to use any special talent or ability. It may be moving furniture to reorganize a room or to help someone move from an apartment to a new home. It may be standing at the church doorway and greeting people while handing out the week’s church bulletin. Sometimes, it means buying a meal or even some groceries for a family who is in need. In a world where people are more often self-focused then not, the ability to step out and simply do something for someone is refreshingly distinctive. It’s the beginning step in a life of servanthood.

  1. Just do it without expecting anything in return

There is a way to treat people, and being a servant is no exception to this. A servant in Christ is to live in such a way that it is natural to do the right thing for someone, and to not expect anything in return or create a burden of obligation for the other person.

First, the essence of “doing what is right” is the foundation of what Jesus Christ represents:

Matthew 7:12 HCSB

Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them—-this is the Law and the Prophets.

The ways of the world normally see acts of compassion with suspicion. For some people, it is difficult to accept a person’s help because it is a societal norm that the help is to be reciprocated. As a servant of Jesus Christ, your acts of service are performed with a heart for Jesus and without any need or expectation for the person to do anything in return. The moment that the burden of returning the favor is left in place, that is when Christ’s presence is less visible, and when He is less likely to be glorified as you serve. We serve Christ freely and without any burden for ourselves and for others. People need to see the light and airy love of Christ in everything that you do in service for Him:

Matthew 11:28-30 HCSB

“Come to Me (Jesus), all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Our service for Christ, as we develop our heart for service, should also be an expression of what it is to live a life of freedom for Him (John 8:36).

  1. Just do it…and put some heart into it!

A servant for Christ not only demonstrates the example of Christlike behavior to others, but also learns the perspective of servanthood with the heart and mind of Jesus. As you learn more about Jesus through His Word and live in obedience to Him, He will most certainly transform you as you live as His example before others. Being refreshingly distinctive from the world means being set apart in a positive way. People will see your heart for Christ in what you do. To be set apart involves changing from your old self to not only become a new creature, but a creature that becomes more and more Christ-like every day.”

Romans 12:1-2 HCSB

Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Chuck Swindoll notes that a servant for Christ must change to avoid the world’s reasoning and conform to the thoughts of Jesus:

“How? By a radical transformation within. By a renewed thought pattern that demonstrates authentic godlikeness. Living differently begins with thinking differently.”

Living for Christ in this renewed mind will allow you to see the compassion of Christ in everything that you do for others.

Your servanthood with a heart for Jesus will be seen by people who don’t know Him personally as a wonderful introduction (and perhaps an invitation) to who He is. A servant for Christ truly is a light in a very dark world:

Matthew 5:14-16 HCSB

“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”

Chuck Swindoll noted that the opportunities to reach the lost, through servanthood, are limitless, and in your service, you personally receive joy in your accomplishments through your fellowship with Jesus Christ:

“In every town, every neighborhood, and on every block there are lonely and sometimes unlovely men and women who need to experience the love of Jesus. In every city there are children who have never known a gentle touch or a loving smile.” “There are acts of love and mercy that God has already prepared for you, so that you might share in His joy–so that you might grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

A life of servanthood for Jesus Christ is a life that embodies ministry in fulfillment of His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Your obedience and faithfulness to Him will be a witness for Him in everything that you do. Now, all that you need to do is “just do it.”

 

For references, refer to Just Do It! research paper here.

Copyright © Melvin Gaines

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Growing Through Adversity

No one wants or welcomes adversity in his or her life. There are some that would prefer to dictate how the events of life should occur and try to avoid adversity, but we all should conclude that we can’t control the “ups and downs” in life. When there is difficulty, this is a test as to what we believe as followers of Jesus Christ. It requires faith and trust in Him and the remembrance that God is in control.Adversity is not a bad thing; in fact, it is good thing, because it challenges our faith and provides opportunities for growth in our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Job 14:1

Man born of woman is short of days and full of trouble.

Adversity is what can be defined as “commotion,” or the condition of being physically agitated… restlessness, an uneasy or nervous state… a disastrous failure or defeat.

The worst thing that we can do is run away from life in response to moments of adversity. If believers are “more than conquerers,” then why run away…what are we running from? Adversity should, in fact, should be drawing us closer to God rather than away from Him. Depending upon where you are and what you are going through, it may require a consistent act of continually seeking Christ, in many ways, just to endure the hardship. It also requires compliance and agreement with God’s Word, which means humility and surrendering to Him as to whatever He wants to do in our live…whether we like it or not. It is a matter of obedience to God’s Word, and the joy realized with the peace of God that allows us to transcend beyond the adversity.

We are to have peace with God in order to have the peace of God.

Romans 5:1

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:5-8

5 For those whose lives are according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those whose lives are according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God.

Philippians 2:5

Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus.

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”

In our adversity, we should always be mindful that we are walking with the Lord in fellowship through our life and our actions. This will enable each of us to know that we have the peace of God in our lives.

John 16:33
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

Peace is the very thing that God provides for us in the midst of difficulty.

It is important to seek the Lord and live in God’s peace and avoid the things that can disrupt your peace. Those who will readily criticize you and make claims that you never do anything right should be avoided (constructive criticism with justification is much different from harsh, unreasonable criticism). Another stumbling block is to compare where you are a person against that of where you perceive someone else is. There is no real peace when you are taking the focus off of God. The disruption of one’s peace also comes from carnality of the flesh, which prevents seeking the Lord in all things. It implies operating on one’s own strength instead of relying upon God.

Matthew 20:24-27

24 When the 10 [disciples] heard this, they became indignant with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. 26 It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.

1 Timothy 1:5
Now the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

Ephesians 4:7
Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift. For it says: When He ascended on high, He took prisoners into captivity; He gave gifts to people.

Adversity reveals the real life that we are living in Christ (or without Him). Are we living according to God’s standards and expectations?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.

Romans 2:21

…you then, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach, “You must not steal”—do you steal?

James 1:2-3

 2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

His glory is revealed in us by our commitment to living the life that glorifies Him.

His glory is revealed to us in these three areas of life:
1. Goodness
2. Faithfulness
3. Servanthood

Goodness reflects how well we treat others in spite of our adversity. Faithfulness has to do with your word being your word, because you are living according to God’s Word. Servanthood refers to how you serve others with the desire to serve Christ and glorify Him, and not because you are looking for special recognition.

Each of these becomes our agenda in life only when we believe that God is sovereign and totally in control. He has absolute authority over everything in His creation.

John 19:10-11
So Pilate said to Him, “You’re not talking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You and the authority to crucify You?” “You would have no authority over Me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given to you from above. This is why the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.”

John 3:27
John responded, “No one can receive a single thing unless it’s given to him from heaven.”

Matthew 10:29
“Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent.”