A pleasure? A privilege. And a promise!

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:15

Joel C. Seifert

I spent more than a decade waiting tables. As people thanked me for bringing them food and clearing away their dirty dishes, the answer would roll off my lips automatically: “My pleasure.”

Spending time in a hot, muggy kitchen; juggling orders from a dozen tables; memorizing specials; and taking away scraps—I was grateful for my job, but do you think it really was a pleasure?

SERVING ISN’T ALWAYS A PLEASURE

Imagine being in the room with the disciples on that first Easter evening. They saw their Savior, risen to life and victorious over death. Their friend really did have power over everything; God himself was on their side, and he called them to follow him. You’d think that kind of life would bring the greatest joy!

Perhaps that’s why, the last time they had seen him, Jesus taught them one last lesson: he washed their feet (John 13:4-7). The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. That meant raising a dead girl to life and being overcome by the hugs of her grateful parents and sitting at Zacchaeus’ table as the host rejoiced to bring out his best dishes. And it meant days of exhaustion as the needy lined up outside his door and cold nights in the wilderness when he was chased out of towns.

It meant beatings and a cross. Serving so often means lowering yourself further than you thought you could go. Service is the Son of God scrubbing the toes of sinners.

It’s good to live in the joy of Easter, but don’t let that joy give you a false impression of what it means to serve. True service isn’t found in picking the tasks that give us fulfillment or bring us respect. It’s reaching further down to help those who need it.

SERVICE IS A PRIVILEGE, BACKED BY gO

Service isn’t always a pleasure, but it is a privilege. When we serve others, we’re following in our Savior’s footsteps. And he gives us a promise as we do: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:15-17).

On Easter Sunday, we sing our songs of victory. Everything God has promised us is true. Since Christ rose from the dead, our sins are forgiven. Heaven is our home. All things do work for our good.

And serving others in humility brings blessings. Every dirty diaper changed. Every church meeting that runs long into the night. Every floor mopped. Every door we nervously knock on. In every act of service that calls us to stoop down low, God takes our eyes off of our own importance. Then we marvel at the truth that God himself stooped even lower to pay for our sins—and all out of love for us. That’s a privilege.

Victorious Christian, serve others with Easter joy. It might not always be a pleasure, but it will always be a privilege that God blesses. Your risen Savior promises it.

Contributing editor Joel Seifert is pastor at Shining Mountains, Bozeman, Montana.

 

 

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Author: Joel C. Seifert
Volume 103, Number 4
Issue: April 2016

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