When God became a man, He did not come “to be served, but to serve” (Matt 20:28). He came to “give His life as a ransom for many.” He took on the form of a servant. He did not allow His position and stature as Creator of the universe keep Him from humbling Himself to become human.
In John 13, He embodies servanthood by washing the disciples’ dirty feet. This expression of humility is the posture that every believer needs to assume. The disciples struggled to understand this reality. They wanted positions of power and authority in His kingdom. They wanted greatness. Jesus modeled sacrificial service. “True greatness, true leadership, is found in giving yourself in service to others, not in coaxing or inducing others to serve you.”(Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, p 15). That is the only position that matters. Serving others is central to incarnating the message. Many doors that lead to salvation have been opened through service. In The Externally Focused Church, Swanson and Rusaw provide a glimpse of how service to the community is tied to the gospel:
The early church grew because its people loved and served As we have entered into the life of the city through service, we have had the opportunity to engage with people from whom we normally would be isolated. We are seeing relationships formed and people taking steps toward God and his church as never before. Good deeds form a great bridge over which the good news can travel. (p 61)
The posture of serving people in the community and the position of humility is a powerful force. Being a servant is always about others. It is about meeting someone else’s needs. Anyone can do it. Since Jesus came to serve, we are “being Jesus” when we serve others.
The heart of God is to serve a broken world. When Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist, he reminded us that only he could wash away our sin. The church cannot live when the heart of God is not beating within her. God’s heartbeat is to seek and save that which is lost. The church exists to serve as the body of Christ, and it is through this commitment to serve that we are forced to engage the culture. (McManus, An Unstoppable Force, p 23).
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