Before the Last Supper, Jesus took off His garment and wrapped Himself in the clothes of a slave. He took a bowl of water and began washing the dusty feet of His honored guests at His dinner party. The Gospel of John (chapter 13) records that Peter refused Christ’s service. “You will never wash my feet!” Peter protested. The Lord replied that “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Jesus came to serve. It was part of His eternal mission. Servant was His name (Acts 4:27).
It’s difficult to be served. Our pride takes over and we want to do it ourselves. It’s the attitude which keeps multitudes from receiving eternal life.
As a pastor, I’ve always understood my place is as a servant; a servant of God and a servant of His people. It took a long time for me to set aside my pride though, and allow others to serve me.
There is an elderly woman at church, who until the death of her husband a few years ago, spent her adult life serving her husband and their children. The last few years, every time Vera was at church, she’d attempt to serve me. Maybe she’d offer to get me a cup of coffee, fill my plate with food at a potluck, or get something I’d left behind in my office. Like the Apostle Peter, I refused her service. I could take care of it. My pride was showing.
One day during a potluck dinner, I saw Vera coming toward me. I knew she was going to offer to bring me a plate of food. The Lord gently impressed upon my heart, “Richard, allow Vera to serve you. It is her way of showing her love to you, her service to Me, and fulfilling her gift and calling.” From then on, I never refused Vera’s service. She was pleased and I was humbled. How could I refuse a servant of the Most High?
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).