Wednesday, March 08, 2006

40-Days to Servanthood: Day 4

Servanthood is the clearest sign of greatness.

We underestimate the power of servanthood. But imagine the impact on the disciples gathered with Jesus during that fateful Passover meal when He washed their feet. All eyes would have been on Him as He put His robe back on and returned to His place. Hanging on His every word, they heard Him say:

“Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them” (John 13:12-17).

One of the most interesting characters in history is George Washington. Twice, first at the end of the American Revolution and then at the end of his second term as our first President, Washington walked away from the implicit offer of lifelong executive power. People wanted him to become the king of America. But he refused, setting a precedent for the peaceful transition of political power that has become the tradition of the United States and the model after which every country desiring to establish democracy has patterned itself since. Washington showed restraint and thereby established his greatness as a political leader. He saw that anyone who would achieve great things must be, first and foremost, a servant.

This is especially true for the follower of Jesus Christ. No Christian can ever delude herself into thinking that she’s bigger than the Savior Who died on a cross and rose from the dead to give us new and everlasting life with God. The servants of Christ follow Him into acts of humble service, whether obscure or celebrated. They know that servanthood is the clearest sign of greatness.

Bible Passage to Ponder: “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).


Exalted_Flesh said...

Reading this made me think how we are striving to be the master. We are told to strive to be like Jesus and we were created in the image of God so it seems natural. However, this is where it can go wrong. I believe this is exactly the problem and where many people go astray. They strive to be the master of the wrong domain. People often forget they are following the higher path to serve, not to be served or be greater than others but rather to serve others. The feeling of power and righteousness that you have as a follower of Jesus can lead you to conceit if you loose focus. This is exactly the opposite of Christ. I certainly need more servant hood in my life.

Mark Daniels said...

As I mentioned in the introduction to one of these readings, I battle against being a servant. I'd rather be the Big Shot. Yet a weaker part of me wants to do things God's way and to put Him first.

That internal conflict is the same one that Paul talks about in Romans 7, of course.

What I have to tell God honestly is that while I may not want to be a servant, I want to want that. Part of God's grace is that He never forgets how human we are. (Or, as the Bible puts it, He remembers that we are dust.) So, He takes our feeble attempts at surrendering to Him--to live in "daily repentance and renewal"--and to reconstruct us from the inside out.