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May 16, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”—Mark 10:44–45 (NIV)
Imagine this: The Son of God, the Kings of kings and Lord of lords . . . washing the feet of the disciples. As you read through the account of the Last Supper in John’s Gospel, this part of the narrative can’t be ignored. It is so mind blowing, so outrageously disturbing, that it should cause you to pause. Jesus is washing twenty-four filthy, calloused, foul-smelling feet. Two belonged to the man who would shortly betray the Savior of the world. But, as He tells us, this is what He came to do: not to be served, but to serve, to give Himself up for us.
In this amazing story we see Jesus profoundly illustrating what we are to do for one another. Here’s what He says in John 13:13–15 (NLT): “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.”
So, what should we know about serving?
Every Disciple is Expected to Serve
We often think of serving as optional, but it’s not. It’s expected! It’s not a personal choice but a divine command. Serving is indeed a calling . . . but that call extends to every person who claims to be a Christ-follower. If Christ came to serve and give Himself up for us, then we, too, are here to serve. Remember, “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” (John 13:16 NLT).
For the believer, there is no such thing as spiritual unemployment. There is also no spiritual retirement from God’s Kingdom. Following Jesus means following in His footsteps and embracing a life of service to God and others, using the gifts we’ve received for service (Romans 12:4–8; 1 Corinthians 12:4–11; Ephesians 4:7–13).
But how do we do this? Well, we should be motivated by obedience (Deuteronomy 13:4), gratitude (1 Samuel 12:24), gladness (Psalm 100:2), humility (Galatians 5:13–14), and love (2 Corinthians 5:14–15).
When we consider everything the Lord has done for us, serving should no longer feel like a burden. Something is wrong if we can’t serve the Lord with gladness as we respond to His love and work in our lives. We encourage you to discover your spiritual gifts and then joyfully discipline yourself to serve at your church.
Serving is Hard Work
Every Christian is a servant of God and a servant of people . . . and servants work. Look at how Paul described his service in Colossians 1:29 (NLT): “That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.” The word struggle (kopiō) means to work to the point of exhaustion, to agonize. That doesn’t mean it’s a miserable thing to serve, or that you’ll experience agony because of it. The reason Paul worked this hard and served to the point of exhaustion is because he loved the Lord so deeply and passionately.
In this verse, Paul also tells us that when we serve with all our heart, God Himself empowers us and supernaturally equips us. Again, it’s all a matter of the heart behind it. If we generously give of ourselves to the work of the Lord because of our love for Him, if we do so with gladness and humility to honor one another and see His kingdom advance, He will honor us and multiply our efforts in ways we never thought possible. So let’s get to work!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.