How to Cultivate a Servant’s Heart – Carla D Burnette

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Philippians 2:3-5, Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (NLT). 

Do you consider others as more important than yourself? I admit that I struggle with this. For I tend to be laser focused on accomplishing my agenda which results in disregard for people around me. At such times, I find myself viewing people as interruptions or inconveniences.

This is not how Jesus lived while here on earth. Jesus noticed people around Him. When He saw someone in need, He responded in compassion. Scripture informs us that Jesus “came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NLT)

A Servant’s Heart

As Jesus came to serve, He invites us to do the same. Our key passage states that we are to “have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had(Philippians 2:5 NLT). An attitude of loving others by serving them.

What does it mean to serve? The Biblical definition of serving is “to meet the needs of and subject one’s will to that of another.” A servant’s attitude then is to think of others above themselves and to look out for other’s interests or needs (Philippians 3b-4 NLT). 

How then do we cultivate a servant’s attitude, a heart to serve others like Jesus?

Spend Time with the Lord

Studying the Bible

First, consistently spend time with the Lord by studying His Word and communing with Him. The more we know Jesus Christ and understand our identity in Him, the more we desire to be like Him. We will be transformed day by day to be more like Jesus by the power of the Spirit in us. As a result, Christ’s love will compel us to love others like He has loved us. 


Second, pray to view people through Jesus’ eyes. It requires prayer to consider each person as valuable and worthy of our attention. Begin to ask Jesus every day for a compassionate heart towards people, for attentiveness to those around you, and for a willingness to be flexible with your plans.

As Christ’s ambassadors, we represent Him to the world wherever we go (2 Corinthians 5:20). When we choose to serve others, we show Jesus’ love for them. On the contrary, when we ignore people, we appear indifferent and selfish which misrepresents our Lord. May we be mindful that we represent Christ wherever we go. 

Focus on What Matters

Third, reprioritize to focus on what really matters for eternity. Scripture informs us that “Wherever [our] treasure is, there the desires of [our] heart will also be” (Matthew 6:21 NLT).

Friend, what do you treasure the most? If it is Jesus, we will value people above the things of this world. All earthly treasures or things of this world do not last and have no eternal value. On the other hand, people have eternal value. They will either spend eternity in heaven or hell. 

Let’s not be distracted by the things of this world. Instead, let’s be aware of the people around us and take an interest in them. We have the opportunity to impact their lives for eternity. Whether it be your neighbors, your coworkers, the grocery store clerk, the restaurant server. Begin to engage them in conversation and form a relationship with them, so that you can discover how to serve them. For those who don’t know Jesus, you may have the privilege of leading them to salvation in Christ one day.


volunteering your time

Fourth, volunteer in your church and/or community. If you don’t know where to start, ask a church staff member for suggestions or ask a friend how they serve. When we volunteer and give of our time to others, it shifts our eyes off of ourselves and onto others.

Don’t be overwhelmed by this calling to serve, friend. Take one step today. Whether that be allotting time with the Lord each day, praying to view others through Jesus’ eyes, reprioritizing to focus on what truly matters or discovering how to serve in your church/community. 

Let’s resolve to no longer view people as interruptions or inconveniences, but instead consider them as opportunities to show Christ’s love. Let’s also commit to cultivate a servant’s heart so that we may love like Jesus and glorify His name.

Father, thank You for Jesus who is the perfect example of how to serve others in love. Help us to see people through Your eyes. Give us a willingness and intentionality to serve others. May we be attentive and aware of those around us. We desire to love like You and bring You glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

Additional References for Further Study

1 Corinthians 10:24, “No one is to seek his own good, but the good of the other person” (CSB).

Ephesians 5:1-2a, Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ” (NLT).

Questions for Reflection

  • What action step(s) can I take today to cultivate a servant’s heart?
  • How is Jesus calling me to give of myself to others?  
  • What serving opportunities can I participate in at my church or community?

Republished from with permission by Carla D. Burnette.

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