Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules is like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:25-27
In Jesus’ time, only the servants – the lowest class of people – were the servers. Respectable people didn’t serve. What Jesus did here, and in so many other times and places in his life, turned the society of their time on its head. He was asking people to step out of the roles that society had clearly defined for them. … give up the status they were entitled to enjoy. Who would do that?
In the Servant Song (above) we are reminded of the many roles that servanthood can take. We are also reminded that we reflect Christ when we are serving others from a loving heart.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
It all comes back to love. Jesus’ love for us. Extravagant love. Love that serves. And enjoys doing it. Love that brings light into the darkness, and hope into grief.
Albert Schweitzer is another contemporary great man who followed Jesus closely. (1875 – 1965) He understood the value and importance of serving. He said, The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve. He lived what he ‘preached’ – as a German then French theologian, physician, musician, and medical missionary. He received the Nobel Peace prize for his ethics work, “to be in awe of the mystery of life.”
Schweitzer, and countless other everyday people of far less notoriety, have found the truth and the joy of life. Serving! Schweitzer also said, Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier.
In my denomination we have many hymns about serving. We talk about servant leaders. We preach regularly about serving others. If you want to know what we believe, listen to our music. This hymn, “We are Called,” is based on Micah 6:8. This particular video is made by the Catholic church, so it shows some of the priorities in that tradition that are not shared in all of the Christian denominations. It is beautifully done.
And what does the Lord require of you? To do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.
In Marty Haugen’s song, the refrain includes the line, “we are called to serve one another.”
Questions to ponder
Who do you know who serves others joyfully? How do they serve others?
What is one thing you could add into your life to serve others? How will you begin? And if you don’t, what’s stopping you?
Martin Luther said, “God doesn’t need your good works, but your neighbor does.” How might serving our neighbors be part of God’s plan for us and the world?
Prayer for today:
Lord God, you are the king and savior of the world and yet you stooped to serve us again and again. You modeled love in serving. Strengthen us to be your servants each day that your love and your light might be reflected brightly throughout the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.