I love this quote. And I love it, not only because I believe it’s true, but because of the man behind the quote. Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived what he believed. He could have written his own ticket in Nazi Germany. He was brilliant and he was privileged, but because his faith informed every decision he made, he allowed his days, and hours, and minutes to be arranged by God. The result is a sold-out life in which moral courage rises up to face down monstrous evil.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer willfully chose to follow God’s leadership and trusted God with the outcome. This is the heart of a servant.
So how do you and I become this type of a person, the type of person who chooses to follow God’s leadership and trusts him with the outcome? How do you and I become servants?
1. Think like a servant
Do your thoughts reflect a heart to serve others, or do they reflect a sense of entitlement? Nobody can see our thoughts, so we often exercise no control over them. But if we really want to be servants, we need to monitor our thoughts. We need to capture those rogue thoughts of entitlement and lay them at the feet of Jesus. Otherwise, we won’t experience real transformation from being self-centered people to being true servants of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5; Romans 12:2
2. Hear like a servant
Do you listen attentively? Servants are in tune with their master. When you read your Bible, when you pray, are you just going through the motions, or are you in tune with what Jesus is speaking to you through his Word and by his Holy Spirit? Are you listening to your husband, your children, your co-workers? Not just hearing the words that they are saying, but really listening to them? If you give your focused attention and listen to the Lord and to those in your sphere of influence, you are following in the footsteps of Jesus. You are listening like Jesus. Psalm 34:15
3. See like a servant
Are you eyes open to what the Lord is doing around you? I love this principle from Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God, “We watch for God is doing around us and join him.” Are you watching for what God is doing around you? This is what Jesus did. His eyes were always watching to see what his Father was doing. When he saw something God was doing, he joined him in this work. John 5:19
4. Speak like a servant
Do the words that come out of your mouth reflect God’s heart? This is convicting for me. So often my words reflect my irritated heart. Rather than building up my children, or my husband, I am tearing them down. I am failing to speak like a servant. Rather than giving vent to my frustration, I need to pray and ask God to “put a guard over my mouth.” Do you speak words that heal and bring hope? Ephesians 4:29; Psalm 141:3
5. Love like a servant
Are your actions motivated by love? On the night of his arrest, Jesus showed his disciples what servant love looked like. He took the lowly place, the position of the slave, and he washed their feet. He did this to show them what love looks like. Love is patient, love is kind …. Do you take the low place? John 13:1-17; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8
6. Give like a servant
From the resources that you have, do you give generously? Do you consider your money, your time, your talent to be yours, or yours to manage for the King? If we give like a servant, then we will consider God in every purchase that we make, in every appointment we schedule on our calendar, and in every way that we exercise our talents and abilities. 2 Corinthians 9:7, Matthew 25:14-30
Dietrich Bonhoeffer followed Christ’s example and the result for him was arrest, imprisonment, and execution. We’re not guaranteed a rosy outcome in this world if we live as servants of Christ. But we are guaranteed life, real life. A life with purpose, direction, meaning, fullness in the “now” as well as in the “not yet.”
If you’re intrigued by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I’d like to recommend a few resources for you and your family.
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy,Eric Metaxas.
Hefty and rich, this book will give you insight to Bonhoeffer and inspire you to live as a sold-out servant.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: In the Midst of Wickedness, Janet and Geoff Benge
This YWAM biography will introduce your children to Bonhoeffer giving them a vision for bold faith.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Life and Martyrdom of a Great Man Who Counted the Cost of Discipleship, Susan Martins Miller
More indepth that the YWAM story, this book will spur you and your children toward fullness of life in Christ.
Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Freedom, Paul McCusker
Listening to Focus on the Family’s Radio Theater keeps our family engaged and provokes meaningful conversation when we travel. This is one of our favorites.
What is particularly challenging for you as you consider becoming a servant who follows God’s leadership and trusts him with the outcome? What victories are you having today as you serve your children, your husband, your co-workers? I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.