Why Serve Others?

Originally published Tuesday, 03 March 2015.

And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me.” Matt 25:40

John 13 Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end.[aIt was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas,[b] son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.

When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

“No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”

Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”

Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”

10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet,[c] to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked,“Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.

Why is serving others so important? Why does it even matter? Here are a few thoughts on serving:

1.      Jesus served and so should we. The very last lesson Jesus taught his disciples before going to the Cross was to wash each other’s feet. Why? Jesus said, “14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.”  Jesus is teaching his disciples: Since I have done so much for you, because of me you are saved….serve others. How many times do we look at a situation to see what it is we can get out of it versus what it is that we can put into it? Jesus showed us that his blood paid for our freedom, but that because it did, we ought to desire to serve others. Make no mistake. Our service and deeds do not save us, but our salvation should prompt us to serve others. That service shows others Christ in a tangible way.

2.      Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God.  Jesus knew who he was. He wasn’t worried about how others perceived him or what others would think if he served or if he was the most important man in the room by other’s opinion. His service wasn't about being seen, and he certainly didn't run from serving others, because it was beneath him. 

3.      Serve because of what God did for you, not because of what you can get from it. I’ve been pouring into single moms around the country for years. I’ve sat through labor & deliveries. I've often given more money than I had. I've considered it an honor to babysit their children through the years. Our ministry has counseled and prayed for  and with women. And the ministry has grown beyond expectation But it's never been about number or who would know us or making the name of an individual or ministry famous. The root and heart of ministry - the very core of who we are- has been about no single mom walking alone. The same has to be true for you. Your service should flow from a pure heart, not a title or accolade. 

4.      Everyone has something to give. Some of you have money to share right now. If so, you need to give it to a worth cause. But all of you have gifts, talents, and skills you can offer to others. All of you can leave a situation better than you approached it. You can pick up trash in your neighborhood or apartment complex. You can have a friendly conversation with someone to brighten their day. You can stop and pray for others. You can have a potluck dinner and game night for a group of people.

Too often we approach situations with What’s In It For Me? By nature, we are self-absorbed and self-centered. Only Christ in us makes us self-less and servant-minded. 

Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker and founded The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is a happily married mother of three who has a God-given passion to see the body of Christ living in complete freedom. For more info, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.