“Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one
who is sent greater than the one who sent him.”
John 13:16, NAS
Following Jesus was anything but predictable. The disciples never knew what
He was going to do next. On the last night before He was arrested, Jesus
surprised them by taking a basin of water and a towel and began to wash the
disciples’ feet. No one had figured Jesus out yet, but they did know that He was too
important a person to stoop to such a lowly task, a job usually reserved for household
It was shocking for Him to wash their feet. The initial protests of the disciples grew silent and one by one, He took the low place before each man, humbled Himself and
washed their feet.
When He finished, Jesus drove home the lesson, “Look, if you want to follow Me,
you have to take the low place, to take on any task I give you, to take into account that
your Master has chosen the role of humble servanthood. How can you choose to do
Servanthood has a three-fold character. First of all, it is anchored in humility. Until
we have humbled ourselves, as Christ did, yielding all that we claim as our own to
the greater interests and designs of God, we are not ready to serve the way Jesus did.
Secondly, servanthood must be rooted in love. Just before the washing of their feet,
John reminds us in 13:1 that “having loved His own who were in the world, He loved
them to the end (‘to the uttermost’).” Loving ourselves more than others obstructs the
way of serving them. Finally, servanthood is never just a frame of mind, but is always
demonstrated in action. Servants always serve. That is how you recognize them!
QUESTION: If you want to know if you have a servant’s heart, ask yourself how you
feel when someone treats you like a servant? Do you ever consider yourself to be too
important to take on an undesirable task? What difference would it make to your call
to servanthood if you understood and practiced Philippians 2:3-8?