There is no way I realized the depth of service I was signing up for when I decided to have children. Since then, countless times I have had to whisper "forgive them Lord for they know not what they do" after one of my daughters demonstrated ungratefulness or inconsiderate behavior. Motherhood, parenting... is servanthood. And servanthood requires selflessness.
So often we hear that serving is perhaps about going on a big missions trip or starting a new ministry, leading a small group, or volunteering for eeeeverything. However, while Jesus performed many astounding miracles, he also participated in the most mundane.
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. John 13:3-4 (NIV)
I wrote about this verse from a completely different perspective in April last year. I have to use it again because it is packed with meaning and spiritual modeling. Jesus of course knew that it was the night of His betrayal and that the very next morning He would suffer on a cross for the sins of those who He was about to serve. He would have had every reason to be preoccupied with His imminent sufferings. Yet Jesus took time to tend to a duty—that of washing the feet of his followers—that was usually left to the lowest servant in a man’s household. He did this under full awareness of His own Divine dignity. In the mind of Jesus, acts of mundane service were not inconsistent with authority and greatness but rather part of it. In serving others, the most beautiful of moments are those unexpected.
Competition has no place in the fellowship of believers. Rather we are to honor one another above ourselves. Serving one another is a very practical and concrete way to accomplish that. By serving I simply mean doing helpful deeds for one another.
Small, inconsequential acts done from a holy heart state are great monumental acts in God's kingdom.
"Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
The biblical translation for whatever....is...whatever. It means anything and everything. Whether it's eating, cleaning, working, running errands, taking your child to sports practice, making dinner, putting the only dollar you have in the offering basket, praying for friends and family, writing a blog for 25 people or offering a smile to a stranger. Do it all (again, biblically translated to mean all) for the glory of God.
A religious act done in a secular spirit is secular.
A secular thing done in a religious spirit is religious.
When serving, God looks at our joy, our cheerfulness, our willingness...not our denomination, our level of biblical knowledge, our job titles. He only cares that all is done in love.
Serving takes no special talent or gifts. A well-known Bible teacher once spoke to a men’s group at a church in the Washington, D.C., area. Afterward he noticed a man who stayed behind to remove and stack the chairs. Upon inquiring he learned that the man stacking the chairs was a busy United States Senator. It did not take any talent or ability usually associated with being a Senator to stack chairs. But it did take the attitude of a servant. Obviously this senator knew that if service is below you, leadership is above you.
"If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." Galatians 6:3
Jesus came to serve. But he didn't become inaccessible when he rose to heaven. He is still serving, still grabbing a towel and still washing our feet.
He is serving us when we make coffee for our spouse at 4:00 a.m. because they can't sleep, so we get up with them too.
He is serving us when we are exhausted and putting in the twelfth load of laundry at 10:00 p.m.
He is serving us when we give up the great parking spot for the car behind us to have.
He is serving us when we clean up a mess we didn't make.
He is serving us when we bite our tongue and whisper a prayer when our child is rude.
And whatever we do, he serves us all for the glory of God. So should we.