One of my absolute favorite stories in Scripture is found in John 13.
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him,
3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God,
4 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.
5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
I know many of us have read this passage countless times, but I encourage you to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. Don’t glaze over the words just because they’ve become familiar to you.
Jesus knew exactly what He was about to suffer on the cross. He knew who of the 12 disciples would betray Him, and which would flee when the guards came to arrest Him. Jesus wasn’t blindsided by all that would be in His future. Everything He did was in the knowledge of what was to come.
Our Savior didn’t refrain from serving His disciples because He was intimate with their faults and shortcomings. Jesus didn’t have to do this servant’s work at all. In fact, what He did was a slave’s job. It was demeaning, a task for the least of these. And yet, Jesus gets up from the table, knowing all that He knew, knowing that He was fully God, and He washed the feet of His disciples.
There is so much power in the example of Christ. He taught us how to serve in humility and in loving our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus wasn’t rolling His eyes (physically or metaphorically) when He got to Judas’ feet. He didn’t begrudgingly wash the feet of His loved disciple Peter who would go on to betray Him three times.
No, His heart was pure. His motives stemmed from His identity in God, and His love for the people.
Ephesians 6:7 reads, “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,”
Sometimes we get so caught up in our personal opinion of someone at the church or something someone did to us at work that we can still “serve” them, but if they knew what we were thinking, they’d be shocked and hurt. Especially as southerners, we have perfected the art of having our faces convey a different message than our hearts. Oh, we can put a big Sunday morning smile on our faces, but we are internally fussing through every second of it.
As bond-servants to Jesus Christ, we have the chance to render our service to Him. When we serve our brothers and sisters, those who are deserving and those who aren’t, we should serve as though serving the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Our hearts shouldn’t be focused on ourselves but on those around us, wanting to point them back to Christ.
The verse before in Ephesians 6:6 starts with “not by way of eyeservice, as menpleasers”. Stop being concerned with what other people think, or how so and so made you feel. Just like God loves a cheerful giver, He loves a cheerful server. Someone who recognizes the grace of God is a gift. We did nothing to warrant His favor or deserve His love and He still chose the cross.
You may feel as though your co-workers, peers, family, friends, [fill in the blank] don’t deserve your grace or service, but can I just tell you, it’s not about you. We live for Christ, and we die to our flesh.
Today my prayer is that we turn our eyes off of ourselves and we begin to serve with the mercy and compassion of someone who has realized the power of Grace and God’s goodness.