Matthew Hosier
'Who Am I?' Study Notes 3

Gospel Identity 3:
From Consumers to Servants

We’re often told that we live in a consumer society. This means more than that our shops are full of stuff – it affects all our attitudes and assumptions. Christians are called to have very different attitudes and assumptions than those of the world. We need to let the gospel work in our hearts so we are not unthinkingly caught up by the current of the world, but live in a way that honours and reflects Jesus.

Consumers use relationships for their own benefit. They see people as a means to getting what they want. They choose their relationships based on who can best serve them. When people have outlived their usefulness they terminate the relationship. Consumers pay little thought to the consequences of their actions, and fail to understand the significance of community, and how a good community functions.

The antidote to consumerism is the gospel!

Servants think differently. Through the gospel we reflect the character of Christ. We don’t seek to be served but to serve others and seek their benefit. Rather than being concerned only with ourselves we are alert to how our actions and attitudes strengthen the community of the church and help others to experience Christ.

Scriptures to mediate on:

Luke 10:27 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.”

John 13:13-17 "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."

Colossians 3:23-24 "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."

1 Peter 2:16 "Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God."

1 Peter 4:10 "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace."
Case Study: The gospel and the selfish heart

Of all the biblical examples of a selfish heart being transformed, probably the most famous is that of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10).

Zac had lived as a consumer, exploiting other people, and thinking only of himself; but an encounter with Jesus changed all that – suddenly Zac was the most generous man in town! Previously he had defrauded others, now he was serving them.

What was it that made this transformation possible?

Clearly Zac was impacted by the generosity of Jesus. Rather than looking down on Zac, as everyone else did, Jesus honoured and embraced him. This melted Zac’s heart, and made him a transformed man. Suddenly he didn’t need to find his security in his stuff, but was empowered to act with the kind of generosity to others that Jesus had demonstrated to him.

This is what the gospel does!

New Attitudes & Practices to Cultivate

 Ways to move away from being a consumer and towards being a servant:

·       Determining to walk in humility and to consider others before yourself.

·       Understanding that you live to serve those who God has placed in your life.

·       Always being ready to respond when someone needs help.

·       Prioritizing your life around living for the benefit of others.

·       Consistently giving your time, gifts, energy and resources to help and serve others.