Tuesday, March 07, 2006

40-Days to Servanthood: Day 3

[The congregation I serve as pastor is on a Lenten journey to what Christians call servanthood. Our members are going through these daily readings. I hope that readers of Better Living will find them helpful, too. All Scriptural citations are from the New Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted.]

Servanthood is an active way of living.

Pastor John Maxwell tells the story of a man moved by the preaching he heard during worship one Sunday. He stood up and called out to God, “Oh, Lord, use me! Use me!” And then, thinking of the implications of his offer, he added a proviso: “In an advisory capacity.”

We’ve said that God’s prime goal for your life is for you to be like Jesus and that what this means above all, is that you become a servant. That may seem fine, even laudable, in the abstract. But, we need to ask the same question that five-centuries of Lutheran Catechism students have been taught to ask when confronting the basics of our faith in Christ: “What does this mean?” The answer may determine whether we really want to be used by God or not.

On the night He was to be arrested, Jesus gathered with His twelve closest followers to celebrate the Jewish Passover. But before they prayed or ate, Jesus did a strange thing.

In those days, whenever guests came for dinner, the head of the household saw to it that their feet were washed. There were no paved roads in those days. Most travel was done by foot. And because of the hot Judean sun, everybody wore sandals. Footwashing was a soothing and practical act of hospitality. But it was also work delegated to the lowest of slaves. (John 13:1-11)

Yet, Jesus grabbed a pitcher of water, poured it into a basin, and grabbing a towel, set out to wash the twenty-four dusty feet of the apostles. At first, Peter tried to prevent Jesus from washing his feet. Writer Richard Foster says that Peter wasn’t being humble. Instead, his demurral “was an act of veiled pride. Jesus’ service was an affront to Peter’s concept of authority. If Peter had been the master, he would not have washed Jesus’ feet!” Jesus though, dared to put servanthood into action.

Servanthood is more than an attitude. Servanthood is an active way of living.

Bible Passage to Ponder: “Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet...” (John 13:5)

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