I used to prepare the meals for this particular church group a couple years ago and when they asked if I might want to do so again, I was excited…but now I remember just how much work goes into preparing food for this many. But in years past, I was cooking for 200+. Today it’s just 100, so I feel very comfortable and relaxed about that part.
(I decided to use this picture with this blog post but then thought I needed to explain it. We gave my grandson, Percy, a turkey leg last Thanksgiving. He had no idea what to do with it. I think he will enjoy Thanksgiving dinner a lot more this year. But he was so cute...he still is!)
This reminded me of the different gifts and talents each of us has. It reminded me that some types of service are hands on, while others are not. It reminded me that regardless of what we are able to do, we are called to do it.
In Philippians 2, Paul tells us that Jesus was a servant. “…taking the very nature of a servant…” (Philippians 2:6-7 – NIV). Just before this passage however, Paul tells us that our “attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5 – NIV)
So if we are to take on the attitude of Jesus as a servant, we must look at what He did as a servant to learn how to serve.
Jesus Had a Servant Heart
In one of Jesus’ teaching moments, He shared an important message with the disciples and mothers of two of the disciples. His message was that if you want to be great, you must be a servant. Jesus then tells them why He came to earth. “Whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:27-28 – NIV)
So we must be willing to become a slave. A servant. And always be searching for ways to serve another. It was how Jesus lived His life.
Jesus Healed the Sick
Jesus healed the sick. Both physically and spiritually. Through physical healing, Jesus opened the door to spiritual healing in many instances. But in each case, He never took the credit. God was always given the glory for the healing. A servant attitude overflows with humility.
While God is the only One who can heal, we can lead others to spiritual healing. We can serve others as we share the Gospel, teach its message, and proclaim God’s salvation to the world.
Jesus was Hospitable
Yes, when Jesus shared the last meal with His disciples, He was hospitable. He was a gracious Host. “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples…” (Matthew 26:26 – NIV) Jesus served at least a portion of this meal.
Hospitality goes beyond serving meals. It is making others feel comfortable around us. Jesus’ example of hospitality leads me to believe that we are to be hospitable in our attitude.
Jesus Did Whatever was Necessary
In John 13, we see the example of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. This simple act of service caused great turmoil. But it was yet another teaching moment. When He was finished, Jesus asked the disciples, “Do you understand what I have done for you?” (John 13:12b – NIV)
I’m sure they were confused, but He then explained the importance of serving others. “I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:16-17 – NIV)
As believers, we know these things. Now we must do them. So what are we to do? Anything that puts others before ourselves. It may be washing feet. But it also may be raking leaves for an elderly person or mentoring an at-risk child or visiting a nursing home.
In the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 26:31-46), as the King gathers all the nations, He blesses those who fed Him when He was hungry. Who offered a drink when He was thirsty. Who invited Him in as a stranger. Who clothed Him when He was naked. Who cared for Him when He was sick. Who visited Him in prison.
The righteous were confused. They had never done any of these things for the King.
He then offers these words. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 26:40 – NIV)
I believe the message here is clear. We are called to serve others. In whatever way we possibly can.
Jesus also loved with a servant heart. He was compassionate (Matthew 9:36; Matthew 14:14; Matthew 15:32; Luke 7:13). He was sorrowful (Matthew 26:37-38). He grieved (Luke 19:41; John 11:35). He knew how to love.
Oh to have Jesus’ compassion, sorrow and grief for a hurt and dying world. That is how we are to love others. By living life with them. By showing them that we care. By sharing God’s love with them.
These are my observations on serving. Perhaps there are more. I’m sure there are. But as we look into Jesus’ heart, we can see nothing but that of a servant. And that is the exact attitude we are to take upon ourselves.
How will you serve others today? Over the next week? Over the next month? I pray that you have something already set up. If not, why not connect with your local church and see what they have going on and find a place in the serving crowd. There’s always room for one more.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,