If we pray, we will believe
If we believe, we will love
If we love, we will serve.
Many people aspire to leadership, fame, and success; but very few aspire to servanthood. Yet contrary to all wisdom of secular leadership, Jesus emphasised serving others as a hallmark of true greatness. Day in and day out the Gospels describe Jesus combing the countryside healing, teaching, preaching and serving. One act of service bumps into another in rapid succession. Here’s the condensed version of the theme of service in Jesus’ life that John never could forget: On the night he was betrayed, Jesus pulled out all the stops to illustrate the Christian life. He took a basin, tipped the big jar in the corner of the room and filled it with clean water. He took a clean towel and wrapped it around himself; then one disciple at a time got a much needed footbath. Then the memorable words came: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15). That Jesus meant for us to imitate his attitude and actions is clear. A servant serves. The Christian truth is this: the greatest among you are those who serve in the way of Christ. This does not mean simply pulling out a basin and washing friends feet once a year a special commemorative service (or at least not only that), this is about serving others without expectation of reward, about service being part and parcel of becoming conformed to the image of Christ.
The kind of service that Jesus models for his disciples goes well beyond serving our fellow Christians in our local church (although this is part of it); by washing feet Jesus shows us that serving is not always glamorous, but it is the calling of every disciple. Following in his footsteps, Jesus’ disciples got their hands dirty by serving all those around them in need (friends and strangers); through the ministry of Jesus they had learned that disciples are servants, and servants simply serve.
Being a disciple is letting the mind of Christ become our mind. It’s participating in the work Christ among the poor, needy, prisoners, or widows. It is serving without expectation; it is getting our hands dirty. It is understanding that through our service (meeting the needs of those around us in the name of Jesus Christ), that we contribute to the present growth and unfolding future of the kingdom of God.
Grace to you,
Continuing with our theme of being disciples:
‘Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.’ (Charles Spurgeon)
We have talked previously about the importance of the disciple of Jesus being a committed learner; however the reality is, that God’s Word is never meant to be something we just know, are familiar with, or memorise. God’s word is alive and powerful; it is intended for change and transformation, for redemption and salvation, for justice, mercy and grace: These are words of action, not passivity!
We don’t graduate from discipleship and move on to mission, scripture says that they that do the will of God will know, not they that know, will do! (John 7:17). Mission, then, is not an optional extra, but an essential element of the life of the genuine disciple. As disciples of Christ we serve a God who first came to rescue us. Mission then, is our response to our justification, not our pathway to justification; mission is an outworking of a transformed heart. Discipleship and Mission is not an either/or scenario, but an and/both; it includes both knowing and doing, learning and serving.
True discipleship, then, is when we take up the mission of God as our own. Jesus coming to earth was God placing his purpose in action - making it tangible: our mission is to continue this work. Matthew 28:18-20 puts it very clearly; here, Jesus sends his disciples (including each of us) to share the gospel and to teach all that he has taught us. We are called to be actively involved; we are tasked to share the gospel, to encourage believers to grow in faith, and to baptise those who believe. Why? So that all people may come to know him and know the truth (1 Tim 2:4); and to bring glory to his name.
How can you get involved in God’s mission this week?
Grace to you,