The Heart of a Servant
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:14-15
“The only really happy people are those who have learned how to serve.” Rick Warren
- Today we are going to be touching on the story of the Last Supper. This is the final Passover meal Jesus took with His disciples in the days before His death. Would you humble yourself before the Lord with me? Pray that He will use the applications of the following passage to soften your heart today and grow your love for Him and others.
- Join me in seeking the Lord’s wisdom by reading John 13:1-17. Pay special attention to verses 14-15, and let God speak to you through His Word.
The Heart of a Servant – The Last Supper
Sweet sister, I know your heart’s desire is to follow the Lord and express His love by serving others. It is difficult to understand what that means practically. At times the people in your life can be difficult or hurtful, and often the first instinct of our flesh is to run or fight. It is never to serve.
However, in examining the biblical account of the Last Supper, I am struck by Jesus’ desire to serve His disciples by washing their feet. In that time, the repulsive task of washing a guest’s feet belonged to the lowliest servant. People of Jesus’s day wore sandals and walked upon unpaved roads caked with human refuse and animal waste. Their feet were horrendous. Jesus took on the mantle of the lowest servant when He removed His robe and bent before his friends in humble leadership.
What I find truly fantastic, is that Jesus recognized exactly what was to come in the following days. John 13:11 mentions that Jesus knew who would betray Him. He knew his best friends would abandon Him. He knew Judas would sell Him to authorities for just a few pieces of silver. Our human reaction to such hurt and betrayal would likely be intense anger and retaliation. Yet Jesus’ response was tender service. He poured out love to His wayward friends in both His words and His actions. My friend, He is calling you to do the same (Galatians 5:13).
Is there someone in your life who is difficult? Maybe you have a child who is going through a challenging phase, a marriage that is not what you expected, a friend or family member who has hurt your heart? Jesus desires that we follow His example by serving these people, the ones we do not wish to serve. The ones we feel certainly do not deserve our kindness.
How can we possibly serve in the sacrificial way Jesus demonstrated? We are told: “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness,” (2 Timothy 2:24-25). That seems like a very tall order. Be encouraged; God will provide just what you need to serve the people He has placed in your life!
In 1 Peter 4:10, you will find that you should, “use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace.” God has already given you the spiritual gifts necessary to minister to those who have wounded you. Pray that He would show you how to use those gifts effectively for His glory!
There is no shame in Biblical servanthood. In imitating Christ, servants do not lose their identity; they become remarkable in the eyes of the Lord (Mark 10:43). To serve in the way Jesus served will be a blessing to you! We serve others because, through those actions, we are actually serving God. There will be rewards of peace and joy in our life we cannot comprehend, benefits of obedience we cannot see.
Beloved, Jesus came to clean your heart as He cleaned the disciple’s feet. He came to save you and show you love like you have never known before. As He pours love into your heart through His Spirit and His Word, serving others will simply be a manifestation of that amazing gift!
Questions to Ponder
- Consider that challenging person in your life, how is Jesus calling you to serve that person in the weeks to come? How can you honor Jesus in this relationship?
- How can you encourage your children to serve their family members or friends in love?
The story of the Last Supper presents an excellent, hands-on opportunity to teach your children about serving one another with hearts of love! In our home, we dedicate one evening to observing the Lord’s final Passover meal. If you have older children or children who enjoy eating a wide variety of foods, it is fun to prepare some traditional Passover foods (there are many wonderful tutorials and recipes on the internet!). However, as the aim is to keep this evening fun and bless the hearts of your little ones, be sure to fix foods you know your children will love!
During the meal read the story of the Last Supper either from your favorite children’s Bible or from John 13. Talk about the significance of Jesus words and what was to come for Him and His disciples in the days to follow. Discuss what it meant for Jesus to wash the disciple’s stinky, filthy feet and how Jesus wants to wash our hearts clean in the same manner.
Tell your children that Jesus wants them to be a servant to others as well. Discuss ideas about how they can serve each other even when it is hard. Ask them to commit to serving others throughout the week leading up to Easter. What a wonderful way to begin a new habit!
After the meal is over, proceed to a chair and a basin of warm water that you have set up before the meal. Let them know that you are going to wash their feet just as Jesus washed the feet of His best friends. Make sure to have some delicious smelling soap and lotion on hand to make it a peaceful, relaxing time for each child.
As you wash their feet, speak words of love to each child and remind them of the special gifts and talents the Lord has put in their heart. Maybe your child is especially kind, creative, or funny. Perhaps they are an excellent writer, pianist, or friend. The Lord can use gifts of every kind! Beforehand, make mental notes of strengths the Lord has given your child so that you will be prepared. Let each child know that God is going to use their gifts to change the lives of others and impact eternity! Jesus loves your child so much and has amazing, unimaginable plans for their future!
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I am the wife of a handsome man and the mama of two little boys (with a third one on the way this summer!). I live in a little house in the woods of Colorado with a few chickens and a lot of little-boy-craziness. I love you though I’ve never met you, and I’m praying for you often. My life, like yours, isn’t perfect, but we are both perfectly loved by our Savior!
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