We Can Serve Like Jesus
By: Anne Peterson
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world. - Philippians 2:14-15
Serving someone is a gift. But only if the person is giving willingly. As soon as they start complaining or grumbling, it ceases to be a gift. They are doing it out of obligation.
Picking up a piece of clothing from the bedroom floor, I was resentful. This time it was my husband’s clothing.
“God, why is it I have to keep picking up things?” I half-complained, half-prayed out loud. I already knew the answer, really. My husband suffers from chronic back pain. For the most part, I try not to grumble. But every once in a while, when I feel sorry for myself, it’s easier to let those murmurings out. Fortunately, I was alone.
One day, when I got out of bed, I could hardly move. While I have experienced back pain in the past, this was more extreme. I quickly realized how doing the smallest of jobs was painful. Like tying my shoes, and yes, picking something up from the floor.
When I bent down to retrieve something, my back objected loudly. And the message was received loud and clear. If I had trouble trying to bend down to get one thing, how must my husband feel when he tries going through his day today?
The next day when I picked up something off the floor that belonged to him, I noticed a change. I did not feel resentful in the least. In fact, I was thankful that I was able to pick it up without pain. And while I thanked God that my back was better, I prayed for my husband, that God would continue to give him grace with his pain.
We are living in a world where people are very negative. Sometimes on social media you will hear someone complain and it won’t be long before it spreads to a whole group. But those of us who are followers of Jesus do not have to conform to the world. We can be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
In the Bible, we read that Jesus himself would serve his disciples at times. One time in particular, he took a basin of water and a towel and he began washing the feet of his disciples. Jesus did not think this was beneath him at all. After he washed their feet, he told them it was to be an example of what they should do for one another. I’m pretty sure washing the feet of those who had been walking dusty roads for hours, was not a pleasant thing to do. But Jesus didn’t grumble or complain one bit.
One of the best models I had, as far as marriage, was my Bible teacher Lois and her husband, Don. It was a regular act of love seeing Lois pour a cup of coffee and bring it to Don. We’re told in scripture that whatever we do in word or deed, we should do it as unto the Lord. Lois did just that.
God says that when we follow his Word that we are lights in the world. The darker the world gets, the brighter we shine. And sometimes, being different can prompt people to notice and want to know more. Then we have the perfect opportunity to share with them about our Savior. The one who came into the world, not to condemn it, but to set people free. Jesus, the one who was not opposed to pick up a basin, fill it with water and wash someone’s feet. We can serve like Jesus.
Anne Peterson and her husband, Michael have been married for 43 years. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 15 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss and another memoir, Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hope. Sign up for Anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.comor connect with her on Facebook.
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Originally published Thursday, 26 October 2023.