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The Root of True Service Is Humility


“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

(Philippians 2:3)


There’s a radical other-oriented principle at the heart of the Christian faith. Paul lays out that principle here. I’m meant to count other people as more significant than myself.

Of course, more often than not, I don’t act that way. What I want for myself is more important by default. It’s natural to put myself first. And as a leader, it’s easy for me to slip into a frame of mind that says, I’m more important because what I do has greater consequence in the world.

But human value is different in God’s economy. We want to value ourselves by how much we contribute perhaps. Some want to value people based on where they come from or where they’re going. Some people have greater value than others based on what they’ve done, or their office or rank. A lot of the time, it’s about money.

But God doesn’t consider any of that when it comes to the value of a human being. Indeed, there’s a kind of upside-down quality to the kingdom of God, for Jesus did not come for the righteous, but the sinner.

And what that does is it forces me to look afresh at what I think about myself and about other people. Jesus died for you just as he died for me. He humbled himself, accounted himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant and dying in my place.

What if Jesus had said, He’s not worth dying for. He would have been right of course.

But that’s not what he did. He accounted others more significantly than himself. And so he did not pursue his own honor and glory, but submitted himself to death in my behalf. Such was his love for me.

And his example compels me to treat others as he treated me. It’s not about what I do or what my position is. Others are more significant than me.

That’s the root of true service.


Jesus, I’m not a good follower of you, and I certainly consider myself greater than others as a natural bent. I’m selfish and self-centered too often, and I spend too much time thinking about my own comforts.

Help me to find joy in service. Teach me to count others as more significant than myself and to serve them accordingly.

We want to be like you. Would you grant us repentance, and teach us the way of love.


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