This past week I was thinking a lot about how Jesus washed the disciples feet and left them in shock! The fact that Jesus — Messiah, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Son of God, my Saviour – would humble himself, kneel down and wash dirty, smelly feet is mind blowing. Why would He do that? What was His purpose? What did He want us to learn?
A little while before washing feet Jesus was speaking and He had a lot to say about service, on being a servant, and just how to do it. In John 12:26, Jesus says: “If anyone serves me, let him follow me, and where I am, there my servant will be also.” Jesus’ teaching indicates personal service as He speaks of “me” and “my.” A few years back, “servant leadership” became a popular concept in the church and even in business. In the Bible, “servant leadership” assumes personal service to someone. In both the Old Testament and New Testament we find examples of this personal service as being a prerequisite for leadership:
- Moses served his father-in-law for 40 years. He learned humility and service in the “trenches” of the desert, not in Egypt’s palaces. (Ex. 3:1)
- Joshua attended to Moses for many years before leading Israel into the Promised Land (Josh 1:1)
- Elisha assisted Elijah as his servant (2 Kin. 3:11)
- David was Saul’s servant and armor bearer before he was King (1 Sam. 16:21)
- Jesus calls the disciples His servants (John 15:15)
- John Bevere, speaker and author, served his pastor for 17 years doing such menial tasks as chauffeuring and picking up dry cleaning.
- Pastor Eric assisted his father-in-law for 9 years before taking the leadership of Praise Cathedral.
Those are some great examples of servant leadership! But what about those of us who don’t have any plans (or haven’t been clued in by the Lord) to be a leader but truly desire to be a worthy follower? Again, in John 12:26 we find the direction: Serve Jesus. Follow Jesus. First, we are to learn that a servant follower has a quality of the heart that flows into real actions. Second, a servant follower has a quality of the spirit expressed in humility – no attention getting or power grabs.
Remember WWJD? Well, how about WDJD – What DID Jesus Do:
- Jesus took the form of a bondservant and humbled Himself! (Phil 2:7-8)
- Jesus calls Himself “one who serves”! (Luke 22:27)
So, not only is being a servant-follower a worthy goal, it is mandated and demonstrated by Jesus Himself. Are you ready for the adventure? If you are, here’s what you can expect:
Everything will change
- You will always have purpose
- You should never be bored
- Joy is the reward of the obedient servant
- There will be a cost
- The Father will honor you (John 12:26)
- The world will know that you have been WITH Jesus! (Acts 4:13)
If you are not ready for the adventure of a servant-follower then face it . . . you are just a fan! (1 John 2:19)