Have you ever heard of the expression that someone has a servant’s heart?
I know of many people that have servant’s hearts. I have been so humbled recently at the crazy service that some people have been showing me. I keep thinking that I want to be more like these people, my friends and family.
But, something in my heart cringed just thinking that thought. My heart was telling me that I was focusing too much on these people in my life and not the person that they were emulating. The reason why they are able to serve so well is because of the Spirit of Jesus Christ living in them. As they emulate Christ in their sacrifice and service, so should I.
Jesus was the greatest servant of all time. He came down to earth as a servant, humbling himself as a human. Paul says it better than me in Philippians 2:6-8, “Though [Jesus Christ] was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
To think that God came down on this earth to be harassed and killed is crazy. He could have just came and said he was God and not bother with being born a human to go through what humans go through. It even says in Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus was tempted just as we have been as humans! He didn’t have to go through that, but Jesus came and died on the cross as the ultimate service to us, to give us eternal life if we believe in Him!
Jesus died on the cross for each and every one of us. Each one of our sins were nailed to the cross on the day that He was crucified. Not only did Jesus want to serve us all with one big blessing, but he wants to know each one of us personally.
A huge way that God has shown up in my life has been through the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. To me, nothing could show more of a servant’s heart than to have someone wash my feet. It’s so personal. To think that Jesus would sit down and wash my feet blows my mind. I think I’d be like Peter and think that I was too flawed for Jesus, the Son of God, to wash my feet. Grab a big ‘ole cup of coffee and listen to the story:
“During supper, when the devil had already put it 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 had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, do you wash my feet?’ Jesus answered him, ‘What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.’ Peter said to him, ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no share with me. Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ Jesus said to him, ‘The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.’ For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, ‘Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.’” (John 13:2-16)
Even though Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray him, he still washed his feet. Can you imagine? I can’t even think about washing someone’s feet who might have cut me off on the highway, let alone someone who set me up to be killed. Jesus shows just how personal his sacrifice and service is when he washes even Judas’ feet.
This reminds me of Romans 5:6-8, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
We are called to be servants like Jesus. That means no favorites. We can’t just choose who we serve. We need to be servants to all, even if that means biting our tongues or waving a happy wave to someone in traffic.
I am so humbled when I think about the sacrifice that Jesus paid for me on the cross and the crazy servant he was on earth. It makes me want to be more like Him!
God, I pray today that you would motivate me to be more sacrificial and servant-like. I pray that you would cultivate a heart in me that people would characterize as a servant’s heart. Not just so that I can be seen as a servant, but so that people can see your awesome sacrifice in your Son! God take away any selfishness in me and replace it with humility. I love you so much and thank you for your Word today!
Who might you be called to serve today, as an example of Christ's humble service to His children?
[This post first appeared on Radical Everyday Living, October 28, 2013.]