What is a servant?

Matthew 20:28 says "even as the Son of Man came to serve and not to be served but gave His life as a ransom for many".
 What does it look like to serve instead of being served?  I think we grasp that pretty well.  Most of us Christ-followers "get" it.  And, honestly, I think we do a pretty good number of acts of service.

But I don't think that is sufficient to consider ourselves "servants".

Recently, I was around a couple of folks that caught the attention of my spirit.  I know this couple well and have always loved and admired them.  But my recent encounter was one of those "aha" moments.  I watched them interact with others and I was struck by something that I couldn't identify for a long while.  What was it that was different?  What was I seeing in their lives that so intrigued me?  We were in a group of people that all were there to serve.  And we were indeed serving.  This couple was different, though, and my spirit was finally able to articulate the difference to my mind.

"Servanthood" is not the same thing as "acts of service".  These two people were servants.  They weren't just performing acts of service.

Here are some of the things that stood out to me -- the things that set them apart as Christlike -
1.  They had no desire for recognition or appreciation.  In fact, they were genuinely shocked to receive it - as though any credit for their acts was unmerited.  This was not false humility (I can smell that a mile away, can't you?).  They were not only not seeking to be noticed or thanked; they were truly surprised to receive any attention at all.
2.  They live, not out of a self-benefitting mindset but rather their compassion for others is evident. Their service consistently requires major sacrifices of comfort, money, time, and convenience.
3. They choose to associate with the indigent, orphans, and prisoners instead of "the beautiful people".  In spite of the fact that "the beautiful people" are attracted to them. This doesn't seem to impress them at all. In fact, I don't think they even notice "the beautiful people".
4.  They possess the training and the talent to live a much more comfortable lifestyle than what they have chosen.  Instead, they pour their resources into people that cannot benefit them at all.(see #2 and #3)
5.  There is no trace of self-pity or self-admiration for their choices.  Instead, an obvious joy and deep satisfaction.

Most of us perform acts of service. Few of us have the mind

" which also was in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:5-7).

I pray that I would live more like these friends of mine.  More like Christ.