September 16, 2019
Serving within the Body
I sat in my parked car on a hot summer day to finish listening to a radio interview. Dr. Laurie Santos teaches the most popular class at Yale University, Psychology 157, Psychology and the Good Life. Students call it The Happiness Class and 25% of students take it every year. Yale put the class online and 130,000 people signed up within a few months! Of the six habits that people with the highest sense of well-being practiced, guess which one ranks near the highest? Serving.
Yale says that the happiest people are those who serve others as a regular part of life. That shouldn’t surprise us. Jesus, the happiest Person in the universe, told us the same thing. When Jesus gathered His disciples at the Last Supper for His final teaching, He started His message with an object lesson:
He got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself. So when Jesus had washed their feet and put his outer clothing back on, he took his place at the table again and said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you?” John 13:4-5, 12 NET
Jesus’ question is an important one. Do we understand the significance of His act of humble service? Clearly, washing the disciples’ feet wasn’t His greatest act of service. The next day’s cross would be that. So why did Jesus wash their feet? At the risk of stating the obvious, it was because their feet were dirty! Jesus met their immediate need by doing the humblest act of service.
In this common, lowly act of service, He teaches us the uncommon, high truth of life.
“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, for that is what I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example – you should do just as I have done for you.” John 13:13-15 NET
Jesus is the Great Servant, so He served them. Nouns must become verbs if there’s to be any integrity. Writers write. Cooks cook. Builders build. Servants serve. And Christ-followers follow Christ. Those who claim to be His followers must believe that serving is so great that we put it into regular practice. Can you think of anything odder than a non-serving Christian? It’s downright unchristian because it’s not like Christ.
Jesus calls us to serve because He wants us to become like Him. Following His example cultivates His character in us. He knows that we learn by doing. If we cook regularly, we become cooks. If we build often, we become builders. For us to become like Jesus the Servant, we must practice the rhythm of serving others.
Serving each other within our church is not the “chore chart in the family of God.” Serving is less like a chore to be done and more like an apprenticeship to undertake. Serving is a training camp for the heart.
Embrace the daily, ordinary opportunities to serve within this church body as a daily, ordinary path to become more like Jesus. But this calling comes with a warning. Only serve if you can handle being happier.
“If you understand these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:17 NET
Every blog will have a next steps section. In this section we will provide some practical resources to help you grow as a leader. Here are just a few: