You call me ‘˜Teacher’ and ‘˜Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 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. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them (John 13:13-17)
This passage from John is really Christian service in a nutshell. There is no, “that’s not my job”, or “not those people”. But the interesting thing about this message is it is not just about serving people…it is about serving God. Yesterday at Starbucks I overheard a manager explaining the company philosophy to a new employee. He said, “We are not in the coffee business serving people, we are in the people business serving coffee.”
As Christians, we must be in the people business, serving Jesus. We serve Jesus, The Living Water, to them because “those who drink the water [He] gives will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life” (John 4:14). But in John 13, Jesus makes it clear that serving others is not a glamorous job – not one that would bring us glory, but one that should bring Him glory. To “glorify Him” is to bring honor to Him, but also to reflect His Glory, as a mirror reflects an image, accurately (2 Cor 3:16-18). So when people look upon us, they should see His wonderful image, not our own.
Jesus is the perfect example or image we need to reflect. And when He washes the feet of the disciples, he is showing us how to serve people. Talk about leading by example! Also important, He is showing us how we should serve God, His Father, and Our Father. We can best serve God by our obedience to Him, taking on the role of a servant as He has instructed (and as Jesus does by washing the feet), being willing to obey and to honor Him in all we do. Jesus’ life and death were accomplished in complete obedience to God. I tell my kids – when you obey, you must do with delay and without complaining (or eye rolling!). A Sunday school teacher for my son’s class has this saying, “slow obedience is no obedience”.
So this week I am challenging you: be in the people business serving Jesus. First, serve Jesus to people, giving them a taste of The Living Water in all you do. But also, serve Jesus, in obedience to His Word, by serving people.