Kenny’s Korner -Servanthood: Putting the Merry into Christmas

By Kenny Rader

27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.


-Luke 22:27 NIV

Others oriented

One of Jesus’ emphasized teachings was on servanthood: that of giving value to others. Time after time, Jesus taught and retaught His disciples the importance of serving, but His students had a difficult time understanding servanthood. They rightly assumed that Jesus came to rule the world as a king, but He didn't plan on that kind of kingship just yet. Jesus will eventually rule as king upon His return to earth, but that wasn’t in the playbook at the time of His first coming. 


Jesus arrived on earth 2,000 years ago as a baby and as the sacrificial Lamb of God, but His purpose in coming was that He came to serve. Servanthood was His central teaching to the disciples on how to live this new way of life that He introduced. In simple English, Jesus was others-oriented. What could He do for others?  


While it's easy to see the blunders of His disciples as revealed in the Gospels, which are sometimes comical, doesn't Jesus’ others-teaching also apply to us today? If so, we need to ask ourselves, "Are we others-oriented? Better yet, ask yourself, "Am I others-oriented?"

Looking at Jesus’ example

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 NIV). 


It seems everyone knows John 3:16, which states the purpose of Jesus' coming to earth: He came to save everyone from their sins.  How did Jesus accomplish His mission? He did it through servanthood. God gave Jesus, and Jesus gave Himself; therefore, giving was a large part of Jesus' ministry. In love for us, God gave His Son as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus gave by willingly coming to earth, thus giving of Himself by the act of coming, but then He continued giving in His ministry. While the Bible doesn’t reveal much about Jesus' earlier years, it provides a multitude of examples of how He gave during His three years of ministry. Plus, the Gospels record much of Jesus teaching His disciples concerning servanthood.  

The first gift of Christmas

John 3:16 tells us that God gave Jesus for our salvation, but do we view it as a Christmas verse? The first gift of Christmas was not the gifts of the magi. Rather, it was the gift of God giving His Son, Jesus, as the Gift to save us. That was the first gift of Christmas, but it was only the beginning as Jesus continued giving in His ministry. 


What if you lived in Jesus' day? Can you imagine the experience of going from blind to seeing at the touch of Jesus' hand? Can you comprehend if you were born lame, Jesus telling you to get up and walk, and then feeling the blood flow through your legs, your muscles gaining strength, and then standing, jumping, and running for the first time in your life?  God gave Jesus as the first gift, but Jesus kept giving through His teaching, miracles, plus giving of Himself in so many ways.

The gift of giving

The Christmas story is a story of giving. Everyone involved in that first Christmas gave. Mary gave of herself and her reputation. Joseph gave of himself and his reputation, both to Mary and the child that was not his. The innkeeper gave by providing the stable. The shepherds gave in worship and adoration, plus they gave by spreading the Good News of Jesus' birth. The magi gave of their time and money in travel. They gave Jesus gifts of gold frankincense and myrrh, plus they gave Jesus their worship. Everyone gave, so here’s the question for each of us, “What am I giving?”


While Christmas is undoubtedly a time of giving, ask yourself in what ways you are generous to others this Christmas. You likely give gifts to family, friends, and possible coworkers. You perhaps incorporate simple acts of kindness to others each day, but are there other means of giving that you’re missing?  

This season of giving

You can give a little more of yourself in a variety of ways. Yes, there are all kinds of charities to donate money and goods to, but do you give to them? If you haven’t done so in the past, will you give this year? 


How about your time? Is there a charitable organization that can use help? Can you free up a few hours during this busy season to help an organization serve others? We, here at RCC, provide the opportunity to help at the Lima Rescue Mission twice each month by serving meals to men down on their luck. The employees at the mission prepare the meal, and we simply serve it and clean up afterward. It takes less than two hours from start to finish, which likely includes your travel time to and from the mission. Maybe God is nudging you to help us serve, or maybe He is prodding you to serve at another organization. Make the bold move to join in the work of wherever God is leading you.


How about giving a better attitude? While a better attitude costs the least of any gift, it's often the most difficult to give. We get busy. We get tired. And we get cranky. Yes, even preachers get moody and testy at times. It's simple to get angry. Did you know that anger is most often a simple-minded expression of weak emotions? We get angry without any thought. This year, rather than getting upset at the checkout person or at the slowpoke driving the vehicle, maybe we can say a prayer for them (and ourselves if we feel anger beginning to ignite). 


What about the person who waves at you with an unkind gesture? Can you give a simple smile and wave, and possibly mouth an apologetic “sorry” to them, doing so in a way that will not further their anger? 

Let’s be Jesus to people

Have you watched "The Chosen? If you don't know what it is, please check it out on the Internet. There are now three seasons to watch – and they're free. If you’ve already watched any of the episodes, please watch them again, but this time take special notice of Jesus, portrayed by Jonathan Roumi. Notice how he responds to the variety of situations written in the script. Notice his kind responses. Notice how love oozes from him. It’s a way we can see how Jesus might have lived while surrounded by foolish sinners like you and me. Can you be Jesus to everyone this Christmas season?

Reaping the benefits of loving others

If you can genuinely be Jesus to others, you will notice how you receive as much or more than you give. While you might feel justified in getting angry and even feel good in your anger, that’s nothing compared to the satisfaction you’ll receive in not getting angry. It's difficult to explain, but not getting angry really feels great! We're not only talking that you not express your anger, but we’re also talking about not even having the intention or feeling you want to get angry. As already stated, it's difficult to explain, but you can only understand if you try suppressing and even negating your anger and succeeding. Here's kind of how it works. You give love and peace to others, even when they do not deserve it, and then you receive inner love and peace that is not explainable. It’s truly a gift of God. 


So, this Christmas season, let’s put the merry back into Christmas. Try bringing a little merry to someone’s Christmas, and you’ll discover that you might receive a little more merry in your Christmas too.

Love you & God Bless, and Merry Christmas




13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,


14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

- Luke 2:13-14