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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.”—Mark 10:43–44 (ESV)
Imagine Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. As you read through the account of the Last Supper in John, this part simply can’t be brushed over. It should be so mind-blowing that it causes you to pause.
Jesus washes 24 very dirty, worn, hairy, and smelly feet—two of which belong to the very man who would only a few hours later betray Him. But, as He tells us, this is what He came to do . . . not to be served, but to serve.
This moment was Jesus putting into practice what He taught in Mark 10. He, the greatest of all, made Himself a servant. And He tells us in John 13 to follow His example, to serve as He did. So, what should we know about serving?
Well, first, every disciple is expected to serve. Often, we see serving as optional, but it’s not. 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.
For the believer, there is no such thing as spiritual unemployment. There is no spiritual retirement from God’s Kingdom. Following Jesus means following in His footsteps and embracing a life of service to God and others; it means using the gifts we’ve received for service (Romans 12:4–8; 1 Corinthians 12:4–11; Ephesians 4:7–13).
When we consider everything the Lord has done for us, serving should no longer feel like a burden. Something is wrong if our response to God’s love and work in our lives is anything less than joyful, grateful, humble service.
Second, 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 will supply us with the power to serve. He empowers us and supernaturally equips us. So, let’s get to work!
DIG: Read Mark 10 and John 13.
DISCOVER: How are you serving God and others?
DISPLAY: Find someone to serve. Ask the Lord to show you how to serve them. Once you get done, repeat!
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.