The Spirit of the Servant

This wasn’t the first time they had been fighting over who was the greatest. This wasn’t the only time they vied for position.   This was one more time that Jesus had an opportunity to teach the twelve about service. He simply got a bowl of water and a towel and started washing feet.   Although his mind was preoccupied with Calvary, He took time to teach them a lesson:   “…I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15).   The greatest title given to Jesus, I believe, is “servant” (cf.Phil.2:4ff). Are we so described?

Today some continue to vie for position yet seldom do we clamor for the title “the greatest.”   However, we do something that condemns our motives just as easily: an appeal to our giftedness (or in this case our not being gifted with certain gifts).

We reason, “I don’t have the gift of exhortation, therefore I can’t greet.”   We say, “I don’t have the gift of evangelism, so I can’t invite.”   We continue, “I don’t have the gift of leadership so I can’t mentor.”   But the one that hurts the church the most is this one: “I don’t have the gift of service, therefore I can’t….”

Jesus obviously was God and He was a teacher (John 13:13) and an evangelist.   However, He came to us as a servant. He didn’t say, “I have the gift of service, therefore I must wash feet.”   He simply washed feet.   He did two things: (1) He taught by example, and (2) He fulfilled a required need or duty at that time.

Brethren, to maintain a church and get all the work done requires servants. Yes, the gifts are needed but what is needed above them is a servant’s heart.   We need men who lead worship because it is their duty to do so.   We need people to work in childcare because it needs to be done.   We need people to set up and clean up for fellowships because it has to be done.   We need greeters, folks to prepare communion, do bulletin boards, arrange pencils and cards in the pews and a host of other things.   Such do not necessarily require a spiritual gift; they require a servant’s heart.   Those who refuse to use their spiritual gifts also lack a servant’s heart.

If we aren’t careful we can become spiritual snobs and point to our spiritual gifts as excuses for not serving where we are all needed.   This was never the Spirit’s intention.     Trav