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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.”—John 13:5 (NKJV)
My first attempt at gardening resulted in one deformed sunflower and two dead trees. Consecutive attempts soon classified me as a horticultural serial killer, and I laid aside my trowel in order to avoid any more fatalities. I realized that in order to garden well, I had to learn from a gardener. The result of that wisdom has produced a fruitful garden.
To do anything well, it helps to look at someone who has mastered the art. When it comes to serving others, we need only look at the example of Jesus, who “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.” (Philippians 2:6–7 ESV).
If you’re like me, it’s difficult to empty yourself and be open to the will of God for service. It’s almost easier to turn away than towards opportunities. But Jesus never made excuses, He made time. He went out of His way for the woman at the well (John 4); He took time to heal, sitting with sinners and social outcasts (Mark 2); He spent an entire evening alone with His disciples, showing and teaching them how to serve (John 13); and He went out among the people, encouraging them to come to Him. He sought opportunities to serve.
His service was a hallmark of humility and compassion. Not scoffing at the idea of stretching out His hand to the leper, but filled with sorrow for his infirmities (Mark 2:41). How tender were His words to the healed woman as He looked upon her and called her “daughter” (Mark 5:34). His example shows me how I can love through Jesus, showing compassion and not disdain—being available and not hesitant.
The apostle Paul explained that he “died daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). I think we can apply that to what Jesus said in John 15:13. There truly is no greater love than when we set aside ourselves and lay down our lives for others. Setting aside (emptying), laying aside (taking time) . . . it isn’t the knowing, it’s the doing (John 13:17). And in doing, we set an example as He did (John 13:15); pointing to Jesus by our love for one another (John 13:35). And the result of that wisdom produces a fruitful life.
Dig: Study chapter 13 of John to explore how Jesus showed humility in service.
Discover: Do some soul searching to determine any areas of service you might be holding back. Don’t feel disheartened, just ask God for opportunities to bless someone and always point to Jesus.
Display: Live a life of wondering how you can benefit those around you.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.