(Our theme for this week is: "The Practicalities of Mission.")
Service is an important part of this...
|Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into basin and began to wash his disciple's feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him... |
14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should wash one another's feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. (John13:3-15)
The highest respect in the Church is not leadership but service.
Jesus' self-knowledge was at the heart of his willingness and ability to serve. Verse 3 says that he knew who he was in terms of where had come from (the Father), where he was going (back to the Father) and what his role was while he was here.
Jesus was the model servant; he showed his servant attitude to his disciples and to us today. Washing guests' feet was a job for a household servant to carry out when guests arrived. But Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist, as the lowliest slave would do, and washed and dried his disciples' feet.
Jesus under no circumstances wanted to occupy the first place, to be served. He reacted very harshly to all attempts to make him accept kingship of this world! The kingdom of Christ grows where there is an attitude of service, where there is a growing respect for each other, where there is sharing and where new relations are established among people regardless of race or class.
Service has been the keynote of Christian leaders in history. Martin Luther King said: "If any of you are around when I have to meet my day and if you get somebody to deliver the tribute, tell him not to talk too long. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize; that is not important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards; that is not important. I'd like somebody to mention that day that, "Martin Luther King tried to give his life serving others."
Such whole-hearted services can be hard;
conversely, a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
Finally: Jesus' self-giving in love is to be imitated by all of us. As he did it, we can do no less. If we don't serve, then our congregations where souls are to be lifted will be empty, while beauty parlours where faces are lifted will be packed. Service is an important part of God's mission; we are consequently called to serve as Jesus served!
Sibusiso Zungu is a servant of God, serving the community of DIEPKLOOF and UPCSA at large.