I pray that you have been blessed by serving someone last month. It is an act of love and worship when we serve, and it is Jesus’ command: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34 NIV)
To love as He loved us; what does this mean? Wow tough one, right? We saw last month the selfless act of Jesus washing His disciple’s feet. It was an act of love with a profound humility. We cannot imagine today this act, which was reserved for a servant to perform for his master upon entering a dwelling. Walking through dirt and dung in sandals would have made for filthy, dirty feet. Yet here, the Master washes the disciple’s feet. Humility is one of Jesus’ greatest character traits. His instructions are clear and unyielding when we read the above, below, and throughout His Word!
Friends, “effective” service, which we discussed last time, can only happen when we are humble and put others needs before our own. There have been countless books, articles, and songs written about putting God first, but what does that look like? When we love as He loves, we put Him first; when we think about the ramifications of our word or deed BEFORE acting, we put Him first; when we put the needs of our neighbors before ourselves, we put Him first; when we do something good or merciful for someone when we don’t feel like it, we put Him first.
Let us practice Sincere Selfless Serving! In order to do this you will need to check your pride at the door! But In order to practice humility, we must relinquish our pride which is a difficult task today. Life is not always about us and we are not at the center of the universe. It is incumbent upon us, if we are to serve God effectively, that we must remember our humble state. In plain terms: We cannot always expect to sit in the front row of the concert, but be willing to sit in the back or up high in the “nosebleed” seats at times. “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited..”.(Romans 12:16 NIV)
Again, let us practice Sincere Selfless Serving! In doing so we are going to Check our pride at the door! Society is raising up young people who have no concept sinful pride, but understand it as “confidence.” Research is now showing that it is actually detrimental to constantly praise young children for mediocrity, simply to ensure self esteem. This strategy has actually backfired and created generations of pride-filled people! The United States ranks tops in confidence: In a recent study, only six percent of Korean eighth graders considered themselves excellent math students, compared with 39 percent of American eighth graders. Yet the Korean students scored far better in math than their American peers.* Of course, they are working with children who have already been raised in a self-esteem centered world. Look at all the self help books, magazines, and articles. These kids may think that they deserve recognition regardless of how they perform, and believe they should be considered first. Kids who act out don’t have poor self-esteem, says Twenge. * Instead, they often think that they’re the most important person in the room and that everyone else is getting in their way.”*
Look how even the disciples struggled with humility and pride. “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:35-45)
God is so amazing isn’t He? In the midst of a self-serving, individualistic society in which we happen to find ourselves, He provides constant and mindful instruction for those willing to seek, and find it! The world tells us that in order to be successful we need to be self-reliant, self-confident, ambitious, motivated by personal desires, and even ruthless at times. If you know God, you know that those are all lies from the enemy, because the WORD says submit to God and lose yourself to His ways.
Pride hinders our ability to serve graciously and from our heart. If we are unable to sit in the kitchen and help serve, we don’t deserve to sit at the head of the table, or in the front row. If we can’t work hard with one another and see the fruits of our efforts, in growing relationship and love, we miss the blessings of true LOVE! “God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 NIV) So spend time with Him, and find out where you need to be serving and how He can work through you to further His kingdom. Remember, it doesn’t have to be world changing, but leading and serving someone who needs you could be life changing.
Blessings to you
*http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/too-much-good-thing By Samantha Cleaver