It was most likely a pretty normal Passover Feast as the disciples were sitting there eating with Jesus, when things got odd. Jesus got up took off his outer clothing, put a towel around Him, poured water into a basin and began washing His disciples’ feet and drying them with the towel wrapped around Him. (John 13:1-5) This was probably a pretty strange moment for the apostles. Jesus was serving them while they should have been serving Him. The natural order of things would have been for the disciples to wash Jesus’ feet, but Jesus wanted them to learn a valuable lesson. A lesson we all need to learn.
When Jesus had washed their feet and put on his outer clothing, he reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are speaking rightly, since that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you.John 13:12-15
The Example and Standard of Serving
Jesus set an example for us to follow. Jesus served when He had every right to be served. He is the Immanuel, which means, “God with us.” Scripture is clear that Jesus and God are one (John 1:1-4,14; Phil 2:5-6). Yet, Jesus chose to wash His disciples’ feet. What a humble task that God in the flesh shouldn’t have had to do. But the thing is, no one forced Jesus to do this, He chose to wash their nasty feet. The reason: so that His disciples would learn to serve one another in the same way.
Jesus calls us to follow His example of washing one another’s feet (John 13:14-15). This isn’t a direct command to actually wash each other’s feet but rather it is a principle to follow. We must serve one another, even when it is inconvenient, nasty, difficult, and undesirable. This is not easy and is often not very fun. However, it is Christlike, and that makes it worth doing.
Here are three tips to serving like Jesus!
#1 Serving starts with our Attitude
The question we must wrestle with is, “how do we become servants like Jesus?” Serving others is often not a very fun thing to do, especially in our “Me First Culture.” If we are going to be servants, we must first have the right attitude toward others. Our attitude impacts nearly every aspect of our life, so it shouldn’t be shocking to recognize that our attitude toward others would impact our attitude toward serving. If we have a good attitude when thinking of others, we will be more likely to be willing and ready to help them in any way. If our attitude is bad, we will likely not have any desire to help them whatsoever.
Oddly enough, the best way to ensure our attitude toward others is good, is to make sure we have the correct attitude about ourselves. Consider Paul’s words in Philippians 2 concerning our attitude toward others and how it is shaped by our attitude toward ourselves.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.Philippians 2:3-4 CSB
An Attitude of Humility
Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, calls us to be humble, not thinking we are too good or better than others. Rather, we must consider others more significant and important than ourselves. This doesn’t mean we are supposed to think little of ourselves or that we are actually lesser than others. It simply means we are to look out for the interest of others before looking toward our own interest. In other words, we must be selfless. This means when we want to go home relax and watch tv, play video games, or mindlessly scroll Instagram that we must first look to the interest of others and see how we can help serve those who are in need. When we know others are in need, we must put them before ourselves and go to serve them, looking out for their best interest.
This is exactly what Jesus did. Jesus went to the cross because it was in our best interest. Because He knew He could make a difference in our lives. It wasn’t fun and certainly not enjoyable, but He did it for us. Now, we must do the same. We must serve!
#2 Serving Starts with our Gifts:
Recognizing the example Jesus set is often encouraging and motivating. We want to serve, and we want to make a difference in the world! However, sometimes we feel inadequate and unable to make a lasting difference. But God has given you something that you can use to make a difference in the world.
Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.1 Peter 4:10
We must recognize that God provided us all with the tools we need to make a difference in someone’s life. God has given us gifts to use to bless others. This is what God told Abram in Genesis 12:1-3 that He was going to bless him so he could be a blessing. God wants us to use our blessing to bless others as well. Whether we have been blessed with the ability to write encouraging cards, an outgoing personality, a thoughtful heart, or even athletic ability, artistic skill, or the ability to sing or play an instrument we can use those gifts to bless others. Whatever our gifts are we can use them to help, love, and serve others. God has given us everything we need to make a difference in the world. But we must get started today!
#3 Serving Starts Today:
Look for those who are in need and make a decision. Decide to make a difference in their life. Then do it! Do it today! We are human and humans do not live forever. We aren’t promised tomorrow and because of this we have a responsibility to do good today. We cannot put off making a difference and serving because we could literally run out of time! We could lose the opportunity. James reminds us just how fleeting our life is when he says, our life is but a vapor, that vanishes in the wind. Check out James 4:13-17.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So it is sin to know the good and yet not do it.James 4:13-17
It is a sin to see an opportunity to do good, and then let it pass us by. It’s sinful because we aren’t promised tomorrow and are not able to make tomorrow happen ourselves. For this reason, God expects us to take action today! To see opportunities for good and to do good, each and every day!
We can be world changers, it may seem like a daunting task to change the world. However, we can most certainly do it. But the easiest way to change the world is to change an individual’s world. When we put the needs and interest of others before our own needs and interest and when we use the gifts God has given us and serve each day like it’s our last, we can make someone’s world better. If we can make their world happier, healthier, warmer, or even just a little brighter, then we most certainly should. Who knows maybe it’ll inspire them to make someone else’s world better as well? Let’s do some good today.
Think on or Discuss the Following:
- Which of the 3 ideas is the hardest for you to apply to your life?
- Read Philippians 2:3-8 how does this demonstrate how Jesus looked out for our interest?
- Read Genesis 12:1-3. How has God blessed you so you can be a blessing?
- Who’s world can you change today?
- What good can you do today?