God calls believers to humbly serve one another. Unfortunately, our pride often gets in the way. Sometimes we hesitate to meet a need because we feel a particular act of service is “beneath us.”
We would never, ever give this as our excuse – in fact, we may even have trouble admitting it to ourselves – but deep down we’re thinking something like this: “Someone with more time, someone with less talent, someone less important, can do that task. But not me.”
The one person who had the right to that attitude didn’t claim it. Jesus said he “did not come to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28).” And our attitude should be the same as His (Philippians 2:5).
On the night Jesus was betrayed, He modeled humble service for us when He washed the feet of His disciples during the Passover meal in the Upper Room. I have read this story many times, but just this past week something new jumped out at me.
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. Luke 13:3-5, NIV
Jesus knew He had all authority. Jesus knew He had been sent from the Father. Jesus knew He would return to the Father in glory. By all human logic, the disciples should have washed Jesus’ feel. Yet, the God of the universe knelt to do a servant’s task. Why?
Jesus could serve them because He was confident of His authority and identity. He had nothing to prove to Himself or others.
So why didn’t one of the disciples do this task usually done by a servant? The answer is simple: They were just too prideful.
That very night, the disciples had been arguing about who was the greatest among them (Luke 22:24). When they entered the upper room, they all sat down with stubborn pride and dusty feet.
Can’t you just imagine the thoughts running through their minds? “I’m not doing it again. I did it last time.” “It’s Thomas’ turn.”
They were all jockeying for position. They didn’t want to appear weaker or less than anyone else. In their minds, taking on the task would have been an admission of inferiority to the others. Because they didn’t understand their spiritual position in Christ, they felt the need to produce a position for themselves.
We do the same thing. See, sometimes the most insecure among us can be the most prideful. Our insecurities produce prideful actions. Yet, when we are secure and confident in our identity in Christ, we aren’t bound by any fleshly need to make ourselves something, to prove our worth. We are free to serve.
Have you recognized this tendency in your own life to prove your worth? Has this kept you from humble service?