“For I have set before you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:15
The surprising thing about Jesus is not only that he came to earth; it is that he came to serve. One might imagine that God would come to earth in some form or another. The unexpected thing however, is that he came to serve those whom he had created.
The life and ministry of Jesus was certainly one of service. It began with the incarnation itself. For God to be born of a human mother, become a human baby, suffer the indignities of childhood, and live among a human family is an act of humility. Why would the God of the universe, not bound by space or time, choose to limit himself in such a way? Only a motive of deep love could explain such an act of self-limitation.
When Jesus began his public ministry, he continued a life of service. He did not demand luxury or a seat of political power. He did not ask people to attend to his needs or await his desires. Jesus ministered to others with kindness, patience, and humility. He did not act as someone who was being forced into service. He was not secretly resentful of the path he had to walk. Instead he embraced the will of his heavenly Father and gave himself fully to humanity out of love. And in order to give the disciples a poignant image to remember, Jesus washed their feet and commanded them to do the same for others. In the same way that Jesus had loved them, they were to love one another.
It is daunting to consider following in the footsteps of Jesus. His example is so high that we may assume we cannot come close to it. He set a perfect example for us of human existence lived to its fullest. He also showed us a perfect standard for service. But Jesus would not have commanded us to love others if it were impossible. Though we will often miss the mark, we have a set of parameters for our lives. Everything we do is to be done with love.
It is human nature to want others to serve us. We get our feelings hurt when we are not noticed, acknowledged, and appreciated. We enjoy when others put out effort to meet our needs. We often find our thoughts wrapped up in our own problems and wishes. But Christ calls us to a radically different approach. We are to love others and show it through our service to them.
It all starts with God, of course. The more we experience the love of God for us, the more we can love others. The more we recognize what Christ has done for us, the more willing we are to emulate him.
With Warm Regards,