Choose Greatness Study #5

David Staff   -  

Extra-mile, dependent Servanthood

One thing we know about servants.  In most cases, their lives are not their own.  They don’t get to be independent operators.  They move and act and provide at the behest of someone they have decided to obey and serve.   Looking at it one way, it is not an enviable or preferred way to live.  And yet Jesus said that being great meant being a great servant, even a slave of all.

After a demanding stretch of ministry (Mark 6:7-13), Jesus knew his disciples needed a rest.  Yet their best attempt to get away was lost in the wake of a hounding crowd.  Surprisingly, rather than drawing further away from the press, Jesus himself plunged into the crowd with his weary disciples after him.  Such is the lifestyle of a true servant, responding with compassion and provision to people in need.  This study reinforces the following truth —

Jesus’ disciples serve with compassion, providing what only Jesus can multiply


  • Read the 1st paragraph (above). What do you find difficult about being a servant?  What do you find rewarding?
  • Who comes to your mind as an “extra-mile” servant? Someone who goes not only the first mile, but willingly goes the second?   (cf. Matthew 5:40-42)


The episode of Mark 6:30-44 has a number of fascinating elements to it.  Not the least of these is Jesus’ command to his disciples (who had next to nothing): You give them (i.e., 5,000 men+) something to eat!

  1. What do you think they felt in that moment?
  2. Have you ever been asked by the Lord to do something you immediately knew you could not do? Did you object?
  3. How might this kind of request be experienced today? For example, how inadequate do we feel when we hear the Lord ask…?
you share the gospel!you bring comfort to someone dying of cancer
you start loving your unlovable neighbor!you raise your children in the things of the Lord
you give to the Lord the 1st of your incomeyou trust the Lord for the right life partner
you ____________________________ (fill in an impossible thing you hear the Lord asking of you)

Interestingly, Jesus puts them in this spot again.  What happens in Mark 8:1-9?

  1. Why do you think Jesus repeated this experience for them?
  2. What is similar here (Mark 8) to the first incident (Mark 6)?

And yet, not too long thereafter, we find the disciples wondering what?  Read Mark 8:14-21

  1. What do you think “the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod” is?
  2. What attitude (which can easily spread, like leaven, among Jesus’ disciples) is Jesus warning about here?

PERSONAL TO US – If you did not take the EVAL (see right) last week, take a moment to do it now.  (Have you picked up your copy of Pastor David’s CHOOSE GREATNESS-SERVE! devotional reader?)

Finish this study by discussing what you think the Holy Spirit wants us to learn from Jesus multiplying the bread for thousands of people, and distributing it through the disciples.

  • What does this teach about depending upon Jesus as servants?
  • What might the Lord want to “multiply” through you for the benefit of someone else…to the glory of God?  😊