A Word From Grace: Monday Edition - Spiritual Discipline #6 - Service

One of the most shocking and compelling incidents in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life is the moment he chose to wash his disciples’ feet. This task was one reserved for the lowest of the servants. The reason for this is simple: feet were gross. Ancient Israel had no paved roads and people walked the same streets as all kinds of animals, and sandals were the most common footwear (if you could afford them). You can imagine the dust, filth, and worse that covered peoples’ feet in those days. That a rabbi would wash feet was not only unusual, it was offensive. This explains Peter’s strong reaction, “You shall never wash my feet!”
 
In this humiliating act, Jesus demonstrates for us a kingdom principle and a spiritual discipline that will shape us in his image. In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus elaborates on this principle, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. Whoever would be great among you must be your servant… even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve.” What a crazy idea! God himself didn’t come to be served, but to serve others. He lowered himself in the every way imaginable in order to lift up others.
 
So, how exactly does serving make us more like God? First, as we’ve already seen, serving others is God’s way. We become like him by emulating his actions. Second, service undercuts the sin of pride. When we place ourselves above others, we are engaging in sin that does damage to people and it separates us from God. Humility developed through serving others does the opposite. “In humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:3-7).
 
Not only does the discipline of service form us into Christ’s image, but serving others is one of God’s primary methods of bringing his kingdom to earth. The common human temptation is to seek and use power to bring about change. Now, there’s nothing wrong with using your influence to open pathways for the kingdom. We should all use the positions that God gives us to further his kingdom. Humble service, however, is perhaps the most powerful form of influence that exists and it’s available to every follower of Christ no matter their power or position. Acts of sacrificial kindness and service to your neighbors show God’s love. Serving others with genuine kindness has a way of disarming pride and gospel resistance. While it might seem that these acts couldn’t possibly bring about much change in the world, remember that Jesus, the most influential person of all time, never held an official position of authority or power. Instead, he changed the world through radical service and sacrifice. As he washed his disciples feet, Jesus instructed them (and therefor us), “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15).
 
Application – Make a list of ways you could offer practical service to those around you. Step out in faith even if it feels uncomfortable. It can’t get much worse than nasty feet. I would also challenge you follow Jesus example in another way, by serving those who are often overlooked: widows, orphans, immigrants, “sinners,” or the otherwise marginalized people among you.

Sean's Picks

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – In this powerful book, Nabeel Qureshi tells his story of coming to faith in Jesus from a devout Muslim background. His journey is influences by rational argument, facts, and divine encounters. It’s a powerful and unique perspective.
 
Candle in the Dark – My focus in seminary was on intercultural gospel engagement (missions). One of my class assignments was to watch this movie about the life of William Carey. It’s a bit old, but captures the story of one of history’s most influential missionaries. Enjoy!

Missions Spotlight:
The Walter Hoving Home

Please pray:
1. That the Lord will continue to keep the staff and ladies healthy.  
2. That hoving home will continue to seek him above all the noise and distractions.              
3. That the Lord would continue to keep Hoving Home financially afloat especially at a time of canceling of fundraising activities.
4.That the planned projects will be able to happen sometime in the future.          

Click here for more on the Hoving Home.

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