“Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’”John 15:20
Have you heard it said of someone before that they have a “servant’s heart”? We typically say this about someone who is constantly giving of themselves to meet the needs of others. We praise these people for their feats and example, but oftentimes we stop there. Do we really know what their heart looks like? And do we really want to follow this person’s example––or do we want to just observe their service?
Serving is Unglamorous
As a mom of littles, most of my time with my kids involves serving them: preparing their meals, picking up after them, clothing them, making sure they are clean. Sometimes they say thank you, but often they do not. That’s true of most people we serve, children or not. People ask for our help, or sometimes demand our help, and then upon receiving our assistance, criticize the way we served, or simply don’t acknowledge the help. This feels frustrating, offensive, and even hurtful. Why even serve if we aren’t going to be appreciated, or even criticized in the midst of the service?
Serving is our Calling
As Christians we are called to a life of service. If we are called to the example of Christ, we should remember His words in John 15:20: “ A servant is not greater than his master.” We are not greater than Christ and if he fulfilled the ultimate act of service, sacrificing his very life for our sake, then the very least we can do is follow his leading by serving those around us in love. And we can’t expect anything better in return for our service than Christ received for his. As we consider feeling offended at the response to our giving of our time/effort/talents to others, may we be reminded of the response of the crowds who called for Jesus to be crucified, and then who later refused to believe he had been resurrected. The servant is not greater than the master. We should serve as Christ served, without expectation.
Serving is about Perspective
As we strive to live into our calling of service, we should remember that serving isn’t always a challenge. Sometimes serving is fun; and it is always fulfilling. Serving isn’t just meeting physical needs like providing a meal to someone or picking up trash in your neighborhood, it is also making yourself available to meet the emotional needs around you. It is offering your time to be a listening ear, or sending a note of encouragement to someone walking through a difficult season. If we are to be like Christ’s example, ready to give of ourselves to the benefit of others, we must maintain a healthy perspective of service. We must remember that we are not made worthy by our service, nor are we owed anything for our service. Our service is not a punishment either, rather it is a gift of an opportunity to portray the example of Christ to the world around us. May we show ourselves ready and willing to accept the opportunity to serve well.
As you consider Christ’s example of service, can you think of any practical ways you can serve others to meet needs around you?