The Forgetful Servant
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“All of you, serve each other in humility, for God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5, NLT
Serving others requires forgetfulness on your part: You need to forget your own needs.
You cannot be self-centered and serve the real needs of another person. “Don’t be selfish …,” Paul says in Philippians 2:3, “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.” (NLT)
Jesus gave his disciples an example of this humility when he stooped to wash their feet: “So during the meal Jesus stood up and took off his outer clothing. Taking a towel, he wrapped it around his waist. Then he poured water into a bowl and began to wash the followers’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:4-5 NCV)
Foot-washing was customary back then (not just for pedicures!) because people wore sandals or walked barefoot on dusty roads. Usually a host had his servants do the dirty chore, but Jesus saved this service for himself, “taking the very nature of a servant ….” (Philippians 2:7)
It is interesting to note that the disciples hadn’t already taken care of the dirty feet, not even slipping into a self-service scrub. Could it be they considered this task beneath their dignity?
But it wasn’t beneath Jesus.
He placed his disciples’ needs above his own – even as he approached his darkest hour.
What does this mean?
The forgetful servant – The life of a servant requires a kind of forgetfulness, the ability to forget our own needs in the process of tending to someone else’s. “We should please others. If we do what helps them, we will build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t please himself.” (Romans 15:2-3, NLT) Look to the needs of others, and trust God to supply your own needs. (Philippians 4:19)
Live well for others – “We want to live well,” Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:24, “but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.” (MSG) Everyone we serve is someone important to serve.
Do what Jesus does – “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14) How would this change your marriage (or some other family), if you began to serve another person before you considered your own needs?
Question: How can we demonstrate humility in leadership?
About this Author: Jon Walker