Anyone who follows Jesus has to quickly come to terms with a basic problem of identity–we are to be servants. Very few people are brought up in the US to be servants. Success–for many, God’s stamp of approval on our lives–means others serve us!
But Jesus said, whoever wants to be great, has to be the servant of ALL (Mark 9:35). Even among ourselves, Jesus said the greatest among us would be our servant (Matthew 23:11).
Of course, we find ways around this. “I serve by leading (which is not the same as servant leadership!)”. Or, “We serve by using our gifts–mine is to be the leader (translation: “I serve by being your boss.”)”.
But Jesus’ own action showed that is NOT what He meant. He served–even if it was fulfilling the lowliest, grossest task of the household (John 13:1-17–washing feet was a necessity because their hygiene wasn’t the same as ours–they were gross!). He would be the guy cleaning the toilets, picking up the trash on property or helping the little old man carry a bag–just because it needed to be done.
The great don’t look great–they look like servants.
Today, the Christian has a double responsibility in service. We are to serve within the body of Christ, as seen above (Internal Service). But we also need to serve those outside the body of Christ (External Service). Otherwise, we, the body of Christ, would be self-centered. And the Body of Christ being self-centered simply isn’t possible.
Notice–we NEED to serve. Our King can certainly insure that any task is done by someone well qualified. He doesn’t need us. We need Him–and the ability to serve in His name.
It is only when we serve that we are able to truly see who we are, and who our King is.
It is only when we serve that we understand the substance of love–doing for others.
It is only when we serve, that we realize what God has actually done for us–serving us in the most humbling way.
And maybe we need to be honest about who we don’t want to serve.
–the dirty guy standing on the street corner
–the smelly woman who sat next to you in McDonalds
–the one who sees himself as transsexual
–the one who thinks Christians are bigoted “haters”–and say so loudly
–the one who thinks you are an idiot
–the __________ (fill in the blank from your own list)
How can you serve these folks? Don’t know? What would happen if you asked them? (Don’t assume)
Maybe, it is only when we serve the person–or group–we most dislike, we most want NOT to serve–will we experience righteousness and peace, and maybe have an effect on the world around us.