August 9, 2012

Serving God

Yesterday, I was in a quilt design class. The instructor showed us an example of her work and how she produced it, but instead of exactly copying her design (as many teachers ask for) she told us to follow her method but make our own choices. From the twenty-plus people in the room, she wanted to see twenty-plus different designs.
Jesus, the great teacher of how to live, may have had something similar in mind when He gave instruction. The Bible tells me I am to be like Him and follow His example. In some cases, what I do should look like what He did, but in others, He isn’t asking me to act the same but to have His same attitude.
You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. (John 13:13–15)
In those days, people walked everywhere. They wore sandals and the roads were dusty. Whenever a guest came to a house, the servants in that house were responsible to wash the guest’s feet, refreshing them. Foot washing would not be a popular task. 

Jesus did it to show the disciples that being like Him means being willing to meet the needs of others. While, literal foot washing is practiced by some religious denominations, limiting our obedience to this example disregards many opportunities to show humble service. People today may not need their feet washed, but are needy in other ways.

Besides this example, the life of Jesus Christ is filled with others. Sometimes He was in the wilderness or on a mountain praying. Can I go away from the comfort of my home to concentrate on communion with Him?
Jesus was often found touching the blind, even touching lepers, and eating with publicans or sinners. Am I willing to minister to the helpless or associate with those rejected by others?

He also slept in storms. Do I have the same calm confidence in my Father to take care of me even when life is filled with turmoil? He talked to a Samaritan woman. Will I spend time with those whom others scorn? 

At the end, Jesus was surrounded by a wrath-filled crowd and wound up bearing a cross. Can I follow that example, should that be the will of God for me?
As today’s devotional reading says, Jesus instructs by more than words. His words, place, occupation, companions, environment, garments, even His silence and submission are filled with examples for me — am I willing to learn and willing to be like Him?

Lord, many days are filled with tests of my love for You and my love for others. These come in the form of interruptions from people with needs. You want me to be willing to serve even when serving others is a sacrifice. Today is already one of those days. Grant me grace to do whatever You desire with a willing heart.

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