If We Want to Know Jesus, Serve Like Him
It is hard to know Jesus well without being a servant. We can know of Jesus and be acquainted with Him and His works without serving like Him. We can love Him and greatly appreciate His work for us. But sharing in the heart of Jesus begins when we start looking after others. Selfless sacrifice defined the whole mission of Jesus during His time on earth. How can we expect to be like Him and see things like He does unless we join Him in that mission?
Christianity without service is a contradiction of terms as a result.
A Heart filled with Love Serves
An old time pastor wrote of an occurrence in his church that highlighted this point. A finely dressed lady visited one of the sick members of her church one day. The suffering woman was miserable in her bed. She was covered by dirty blankets in a dark bedroom. Her children were wearing soiled clothing and running amok in the house while their father was at work. There were used dishes piled in the sink and laundry that obviously needed to be done scattered about the living room. It was a situation that obviously needed tending. The visitor sat at the sick woman’s bedside for what she felt was more than the appropriate time saying the right things. As she was leaving, habit and sense of Christian duty led her to ask, “Well dear, if there is anything that I can do to help, please let me know?” over the yelling of the children. She walked out without waiting for a reply feeling proud of herself. “I’ve done my Christian duty”, she thought proudly.
Did she do her Christian duty? Sure, it was wonderful that she was there and took an interest. It was great that she care, but she missed a wonderful opportunity. It is so obvious that the sick woman needed help. She did what she thought was sufficient rather than ask what Jesus would do. Love was not motivating her to serve one who greatly needed help so she completely missed an opening to be like Jesus. It is not glamorous, but it is what Jesus did all the time. He washed feet, healed lepers and took on the form of a servant for the least of us.
While this is an obvious example, our concern with ourselves can cause us to miss similar opportunities. God puts needs in front of us to allow us to learn to be like Jesus. God wants to bless us by allowing us to serve like His Son and we miss it because we are hungry or tired or want to eat ice cream. Those desires are stronger than our love for the hurting person.
It is a challenging idea every time.
When we look at our example of all things, Jesus, what do we see? We never see our Savior focusing on what He needs. Jesus does not even have a home He is so focused on others.
Jesus is Always Serving.
He focuses on the needs of others and then answered them sacrificially. When He is tired and wants to take a break, we see Him minister to those in His path out of sheer love and compassion for them. When He is worn out and thirsty from travel, the need of the Woman at the Well leads to a moment of great healing. When He is just trying to catch a little sleep while the fishermen disciples get them across the Sea, the fear and doubt of his followers led Him to calm the wind and the waves. He sacrificed His hunger, thirst, fatigue and eventually His whole Body for His people. It is who He is.
We often talk about wanting to know more about Jesus and seeking to be more like Jesus. Do we understand this is what Jesus was like? He was defined by His service to others. His greatest act during His time with us was to give His very Body away for His enemies. Even His title of Savior involves His service.
Do we want to be more like this Jesus?
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2
The King of Kings made Himself of no reputation and took on the form of a bondservant. The word refers to a slave or a lowly servant. Someone whose whole purpose is to serve the needs of others. That is what servants are for. They do the things for you that you don’t want to do. That is what Jesus made Himself into for us, a servant and a slave. God served us solely for our benefit.
Paul exhorts the Corinthian church to imitate him as he was imitating Christ. This our goal as well. Jesus is the express representation, the exact picture of God revealed to us. A servant does not sit back and let others work because he doesn’t feel called to that area of service. He proactively serves. It is in his job description.
A servant that is expecting to be served is a terrible servant.
A follower of Jesus cannot truly know Him and be like Him unless they act like Him. Jesus makes this point repeatedly in the Gospels. The greatest among us is the servant, the slave of them all. He did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. Yet, in a world where Christians are desperate for others to help them with life needs, physical or spiritual, are we there ready to meet the needs or at least give our lives trying?
Would a servant tell his master he was more comfortable being fed than to serve?
The truth about the saving love of Jesus is that it pulls us out of the selfish, self-centered world. It drafts us into a life that is meant to be the exact opposite. Jesus drafts us like a soldier chosen to fight for his country. We are rescued from a lifetime of loving and serving ourselves and sin and are chosen into a lifetime of serving God by serving others.
When we understand this, we understand the heart of Jesus. No one took His life from Him, He laid it down for them. His crucifixion was an act of service.
We Grow When We Serve
What about growth though? If we are ALWAYS serving others, how do we grow?
When we accept that following Jesus means serving and focus on others as our calling, the most remarkable thing happens. We begin to really grow as Christians. We develop in a way that we had not anticipated. Put simply, we start looking more and more like Jesus. We grow in our faith and love because God gives us more faith and love – our master gives us what we need to carry out our job for Him. The greatest growth and maturity as a Christian comes not from studying theology but from laying our lives down for others. It is how the Lord did it after all.
Christianity is never a selfish religion because we have a Savior who gave up everything for us. He then specifically says to us, “Go and do the same.” Do we trust that His directions for us will result in our growth and contentment?
If we want to know our Savior, we must serve like Him. If we serve like Jesus, we will grow to be like Jesus. Do we trust in this plan for us?