“If any (woman) serve Me, let (her) follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be; if any (woman) serve Me, (she) will My Father honour.”
John 12: 26
“Called To Be Servants”
”And whosoever will be chief among you, let (her) be your servant.”
Matthew 20: 27
What does it mean to me to be called “God’s” servant?
“The Lord doesn’t ask about your ability, only your availability; and, if you prove your dependability, the Lord will increase your capability.”
“We value what we freely serve.”
There are many significant acts of service that Jesus performed when on earth, but one specific event has always stood out in my mind as an example of how we should serve one another. And this relates directly to our studies this week regarding God’s plan and calling in our lives.
There is a story which is recorded in John 13. It was a custom during the time when Jesus lived in Judea that as guests arrived in a home, a servant would wash their feet. Since sandals were the common footwear, and most travel consisted of walking dusty trails and roads, it isn’t difficult to imagine how dirty one could get traversing from one location to another.
And so, many homes had towels and basins readily prepared for guests so they could clean their feet or have them washed by a household servant. However, it was an unheard of act for the head of the house to take on this act of servitude. The homeowner, who was the master of the house, was considered above such menial work. This is why Jesus’ selfless performance of washing the feet of all His disciples, as told by John, has such profound meaning. As the disciples met in a room to eat together before Passover, the beloved apostle John tells us what transpired: “And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded” (John 13: 2-5, K.J.V.).
There are two important lessons I have learned from Jesus’ example. First, even though Jesus was well aware of the evil spirit that had taken hold of the heart of Judas, even though He knew this disciple was His betrayer, it didn’t stop Him from “serving” Judas. Second, even though Jesus, Himself, was well-aware He was God’s Son and fully understood His position in God’s universe, His authority and power did not keep Him from bending down in service to others.
If we remember that Salome, Jesus’ aunt, wanted and requested that as a favor, her sons be elevated to the highest positions in Jesus’ government and after having Jesus tell both her boys that they might want to reconsider where a request like this might lead them, the other disciples, getting wind of Salome’s action took offence to what they interpreted was pushy behavior. The Bible states that the other ten disciples were, “moved with indignation.” We might say today they were infuriated.
But Jesus, the servant King quickly threw water on the fire they were trying to ignite with His piece of important information. Jesus looked at the other disciples and said:
“Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them,
and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be
so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your
minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,
and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20: 25-28, K.J.V.).
In addressing His disciples, Jesus wanted to lay to rest any preconceived notion that His kingdom had any likeness to a worldly government. As He told His disciples, in an earthly kingdom you have people who rule over you. People who are in charge. People who dominate because of the title they have.
Then He went on to explain to His followers that in God’s kingdom things don’t work the same way as some people work on earth.
The kingdom of God is made up of people who serve. And the service that is rendered isn’t based on the behavior of the individuals being served. Even your enemy will receive the kindness of Jesus. But there’s more. Your position in God’s kingdom doesn’t affect who is giving the service. For it was God, Himself, who bent low enough, with the gift of His Son, to reach into the pit of sin to lift each one of His children up. It was God who bent down with a water basin and a towel to wipe our tired, dirty feet. It was God who felt the nails being driven through innocent hands of love and it was God who said, “Father, forgive.” God, as exemplified in the life of Jesus said, “My Kingdom is a realm where the servant is the ruler. Service is the key that opens the door to My palace.”
The story is told by Carrie Ten Boom of a visitor who was watching a nurse take care of a patient who not only had leprosy, but also had many sores which were open and infected. Watching the nurse gently clean all these wounds, the visitor said, “I would not do what you are doing if you paid me a million dollars.” The nurse, turning to the visitor replied, “Neither would I, but I do it for Jesus for nothing.”
I love these words spoken by Mother Teresa when she said, “We are all pencils in the hand of a writing God, who is sending love letters to the world.”
Salome asked for power and authority for her children in Jesus’ kingdom. What she found out is that those who choose to serve Jesus are the ones who as Dwight Moody so aptly stated, aren’t measuring their lives by “how many servants they have, but by how many people they serve.”
“When God wants to do His great works He trains somebody to
be quiet enough and little enough, then He uses that person.”
“Teach me to kneel in spirit before all whom it is my privilege to serve, because they are your children: to look for the family likeness, however homely or unspiritual the appearance of those to whom I am sent; however lowly my sphere of service and their need may be.
I will be grateful for everything you give me to do…willing to use very simple things as the instruments of love – the towel and the basin, the cup and plate and loaf, willing to do the most menial duties for the sake of love.
Come, Lord! Come with me; see with my eyes; hear with my ears; think with my mind; love with my heart—in all the situations of my life. Work with my hands; my strength. Take, cleanse, possess, inhabit, my will, my understanding, my love.
Take me where you will, to do what you will, in your way.
For where you are, there would your servant be.”
“O Lord, let us not live to be useless, for Christ’s sake.” Amen.
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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