The Importance of Service
“So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him…After washing their feet, He put on His robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. (John 13:4, 5, 12-17 NLT)”
Sometimes I want to stop… I want to stop encouraging other people. I want to stop trying to make amends and build a bridge with damaged relationships (even if I feel I am the only one hurt). I want to stop being the friend that’s always there to help, to listen, or to go. I even want to stop writing devotionals and sending scriptures because I rarely see the fruition in this labor of love. Sometimes I desire to be selfish and not care about my impact on others. Sometimes I really, really want to use my gift of words and encouragement to express anger and tear people down-checking them as I see fit. Sometimes. Those are times when I generally am focusing on me and my desires versus Christ’s desires for me.
Although those desires cross my mind more often than should, I recognize as a Christian that it’s not about me. Yep, it’s true…even if I…we want it to be; it’s not about us. Instead, it’s about Christ and following His example. In the New Testament there are several times (Matthew 20:26-28, John 13:34, I Peter 2: 21-25, Philippians 2:5-7, etc.) that we see Christ’s life and actions used as an example; and ALL of them are centered around servitude–serving God and serving others. The myriad of people that come in our lives are all people we are to serve and Christ has given us four roles and responsibilities to serve God and to serve them.
First, we are to serve God and Christ by believing. There is no greater service that can be given to our Master than to believe His sacrifice and the reason that the sacrifice was given. We honor God when we believe in His Son and His love for us to free us from sin. This is service to Him.
Next, Christ has called each of us to live as we believe. In Matthew 5: 13-14, Christ speaks of what it means to be the salt of the earth and a light unto the world. We serve God by living a Godly life, by following His precepts, and showing others what it means to be a follower of Christ.
We also are to treat others and love them how we would like to be treated. Christ’s command was for us to love our neighbors and the only way you can truly love someone is through service to them; not necessarily by doing stuff for them, but by honoring them as you would yourself. This is what Christ did as He washed the dirty feet of the disciples. He was confidant in who He was, but took the role of the lowest servant because He wanted to convey that as Christians our service to others, and the resulting humility, is paramount in our walk.
Lastly, as a Christian, we have been charged to share Christ with others. Yes, that means we have to talk about Him, tell others, and speak up about what Christ has done for us. Many of us become fearful of “evangelism.” I myself struggled as well, but we when you look at your sharing Christ as another way of serving others it becomes easier. You would not deny food to a starving person. Instead, if possible you would serve them the choicest food from your table to nourish them. That same level and attitude of serving others is intended here as well. You want them to experience the same rights, privileges, blessings, and anointing as you do.
As you learn to live your life as a servant to Him and to His imperfect children, you die to self a little more each day. Every “dirty” thing you see in or even of them, you recognize in yourself and you come to know that God loves you anyway. Therefore you began to want to speak life in to the lives of others. You want to do what you can to mend relationships and extend a hand of peace again and again. You want to be a better friend to your friends because you realize that by being one to them you are also showing them how to be a better one to you. You write devotionals and send long scriptures every morning because you can’t stop sharing His goodness. You care about your witness to others and care about how you are impacting their lives for the better. You also want to use your tongue as a gift and not a course.
When you change the focus from yourself to serving others and serving God, you recognize that serving is not always easy or even “pretty”, but just as Christ served the disciples by washing their feet, He has served you the same way.