BECOMING BETTER SERVANTS
By Rev. Grace A. Bangisan, Minister for Christian Education and Nurture, Silliman University Church

Text: Mark 10:35-45

Long time ago in a farm, there was a beautiful bamboo tree right in front of a farmer's house. This bamboo tree is so pretty that it became an attraction in their town. So many people admired its natural beauty and its elegance – even the way it swings every time the wind blows. The farmer who owns this bamboo so loved him that he wanted to preserve and just let him live his life. But one day, out of desperation, he decided to cut the bamboo tree. So he talked to the bamboo tree and explained that he has to make use of him and that it was necessary to cut him. He told the bamboo tree that he loved him so much; even though it hurts he has to do it.

The bamboo replied, "I myself am surprised too, why I'm the only one standing here. Others are long gone. I've seen you cut them and used them to build houses, fences, fisherman's tools, and even a bed at one time. I know I'm ready if you need me too." So the farmer cut his beloved bamboo tree. After a while the farmer said to the bamboo tree: “I need to remove your branches and leaves too.” The bamboo replied in agony:”Do you really have to do that? I'm already in pain now you have to break my branches and even remove my leaves too?”

After cutting and cleaning the bamboo, the farmer said to it: “I have to remove your head and split your body in half.” The bamboo replied: “I respect your decision. Please do what you think is necessary."

After the cutting and some more cleaning and preparations, the farmer brought the bamboo to the highest part of his farm. There, he used the bamboo as an irrigation pipe to bring water to the low lying portion of the farm unreachable by water before.

After several months, the water that flowed from the bamboo pipe gave life and produce abundance to the farm and the people of the town.

It was then that the bamboo realized his purpose. He was so happy that he surrendered his life so that others may live.

The text from Mark 10:35-45 is a good reminder to all of us that “God did not call us to be served, but to be servants.” “

The disciples are very much concerned of their positions.

When the disciples began to fight among themselves as to whom should be the greatest, they were being reminded that to be great in God’s eyes is to be a servant modeled after Jesus’ own life of service.

Greatness is found in doing the work of a servant. Greatness is not in how many serve us, but in how many we have served.

Greatness is found being servant to others.

The story of James and John is disconcerting because if James and John, who knew Jesus personally, couldn’t incorporate his teachings into their lives, how on earth are we to do so?

These stories are a reminder for us that, try as we might, all too often our actions are more reflective of motivations of the secular world than the divine.

So how do we become better servants?

One way is by making sure that the motivation for our service is love.

Another is by being mindful of who it is that calls us to serve. We should remember that in all things, we serve God and God alone. By becoming more aware of God’s presence in everyday life, we can strive to understand that all we do is somehow of and for God. With this approach, even the most mundane tasks that might not usually be associated with our spiritual lives can be viewed as service.

If we want to be first, we are to be last. And Jesus gives a testimony to His own life purpose saying: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

This is servanthood. This is the ethos all of us should strive to emulate.

Amen