Selfish vs. Servant

“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.”—1 Peter 5:2 (NLT)


Something I’ve learned as a parent is that selfishness isn’t learned or taught . . . it’s innate in us. Whether we realize it or not, we often manage to make everything about us. “Me” and “I” are easily amongst the two words we utter most frequently. Truthfully, I’m always on my mind! I can’t help it. It’s almost as if selfishness is as hereditary as hair texture and skin tone. It’s embedded in our DNA and traces all the way back to Adam and Eve.


You see, the sin from the Garden was selfishness. Adam and Eve wanted to be like God—they wanted what God had, something “more” for themselves than what their Creator had given them. So, in the heat of a selfish moment, they disobeyed the Lord. They chose themselves over God, so they—and we—suffered the consequences.


Today’s verse deals with two distinct attitudes and frames of mind: the selfish mind and the servant mind. The selfish mind asks, “God, what’s in it for me?” The servant mind says, “I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8 NIV). The selfish mind is always thinking inward about oneself, the servant mind is always thinking outward about others. The selfish mind chooses self and self’s will; the servant mind chooses God and God’s will. The selfish mind does things grudgingly (anankastōs: by force, done because of requirement or through coercion), the servant mind does them willingly. The Greek word here (hekousiōs) means to do something voluntarily, of one’s own will. It’s not doing something because you’ve backed me into a corner, but because I want to serve! And even if I’m called to serve people who are just as selfish as me, I do so willingly because I know the One I’m truly offering myself up in service to is the Lord God, who willingly offered Himself up for me.


So, who are those people God’s placed in your life? Are you embracing the servant mind and serving them willingly? Or are you firmly entrenched in selfishness and serving others grudgingly—or possibly not serving anyone but yourself at all? Remember Adam and Eve and what happens when we choose to serve ourselves over God.


DIG: Do you often find yourself doing things for others grudgingly? Or are you willing and glad to do things for others?


DISCOVER: What example did Jesus set for us as it pertains to the selfish vs. servant mentality and lifestyle?


DISPLAY: Today, I encourage you to be a servant for someone else and do so willingly and joyfully. Go out of your way to serve someone in your sphere of influence, not for any reward or acknowledgement, but because you want to serve the Lord with all your heart. 

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.