A 40 Day Journey to Becoming Like the One We Follow
Day 38: Servant (John 13:4-5)
His service. His sacrifice. His grace. His love. It’s all connected.
For Jesus, becoming a servant wasn’t just a means to an end for his mission. Service WAS his mission. He didn’t come to be served but to serve. He took on the form of a servant and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.
The scene around the dinner table in John 13 encapsulates everything Jesus came to do. He left his place at the head of the table, humbled himself and took on the task of the lowest servant. Love compelled him to serve those gathered with him – even Judas, knowing the betrayal to come. It’s a symbol of his incarnation, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension. Love stooped down.
And he calls us to do the same.
Jesus reminded his disciples time and time again that the first would be last and the last would be first. He told them the greatest among them would be servant of all. After he washed their feet, he said they should also wash one another’s feet.
In the gospels there is no such term as “servant leadership.” There is only service. True leaders are servants, no strings attached. Servants are leaders, showing others how we are to treat and honor everyone around us.
A student is not above his master, Jesus reminds us. We’re not better than him. There is no task beneath us, no person unworthy of our service, no situation in which we can sit back and let someone else do it.
The love of Christ compels us – “Love one another as I have loved you.” We show our faith by our actions, particularly in service to others. What really matters is faith expressing itself through love. So let’s not just love in word only, but in truth and in action.
It is better to serve than to be served. It is better to give than to receive. (Social sciences back up that claim with research into generosity versus selfishness.) And whatever we do for “the least of these,” it’s like we’re doing it for Jesus himself.
So look for opportunities to serve, to show kindness and honor, to humble yourself and become servant of all.