Galatians 1:10b says “Am I trying to please people? If I still wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Many people don’t want to be considered a servant. Everyone would rather be the boss.
However, when Jesus’ disciples were arguing about who was the greatest He corrected them by saying “But you must not be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the leader should be like the servant. Who is more important: the one sitting at the table or the one serving? You think the one at the table is more important, but I am like a servant among you.” (Luke 22:26-27).
The word “servant” has taken on a negative meaning in today’s society. We don’t want to be considered a servant of others, because we think it’s below us. This is another area where we can get caught in the trap of worrying too much about what others think.
Jesus shows us that servanthood is the path to greatness. Not greatness in the way the world thinks of it. The kind of greatness that Jesus is talking about leaves a legacy. It follows us from life on earth, to our eternal life in heaven.
It comes from a place of loving God, and letting our love for God lead us into a genuine love for people. John 15:13 says “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus had this kind of love and it led Him to make the ultimate sacrifice for us. It’s not what His disciples and the rest of His followers would have asked of Him though.
They wanted Jesus to be the leader of a great army and wipe out the Roman Empire. He knew that what they wanted and what they needed were two completely different things.
If Jesus had been trying to please the people, He never would have died on the Cross. He would have become a great general and restored Israel to its Old Testament glory. He wouldn’t have done what God sent Him to do, and we all would have lost the opportunity to be children of God.
The same thing can happen to us. When we strive to please people we will not be servants of Christ. In the futile pursuit of man’s approval we will miss our divine calling. We won’t fulfill our God-given purpose because usually what people want from us and what God has planned for us aren’t the same thing.
When Jesus laid His life down for us He not only proved His perfect love, He opened the door for us to have a relationship with Him. When we live our lives as servants of Christ, as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1), we will open the door for people to know Jesus, too.
It’s a paradox because when we stop trying to please people, we can lead them to the best possible person for them: Jesus Christ.