A Servant’s Heart
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” —Philippians 2:3-4
In Christ’s day, people didn’t drive Teslas or call taxis. Most couldn’t even afford a cart or donkey. They got around mostly by walking. And no socks and shoes in those days: just sandals.
It was a dusty region, and when you got to where you were going, your feet were hot and dirty and smelly.
So they naturally developed a custom of washing people’s feet when they gathered for dinner. Take your sandals off, leave them at the door, go to your couch. No chairs — a low table in the middle, surrounded by low couches arranged like rays of the sun, with the heads pointed in. Recline on your couch, hang your bare feet off the end of it, and a servant comes by and washes your feet. Feels great!
But for the guy who had to do the actual washing, it wasn’t exactly pleasant work.
Yet in John 13, even though the Messiah Himself is sitting at the table, we find nobody making any moves whatsoever toward doing the smelly job. Christ’s disciples — the 12 closest friends he had, who had spent three solid years with him day-in and day-out — didn’t get it. They didn’t make any move to wash his feet. And they sure didn’t make any move to wash each other’s feet!
Moreover, they were bickering over who would get the best jobs in the new government after Jesus took over as king! They still had an earthbound view of what Jesus was there to do — not a work in their hearts, just a “fix” for their circumstances. What rose to the top was a spirit of competition, not servanthood.
Maybe I sneer at the disciples’ immaturity, but what about me? Am I willing to honor God by taking on the wretched task that nobody else wants? Am I just as eager to do the under-the-radar job nobody will notice as I am to take the high-profile project everyone will applaud?
My prayer this week: Father, give me a servant’s heart. Let me eagerly embrace whatever role you offer me, regardless of its prestige or lack thereof. Just let me glorify you by giving it my best. Amen.