What pride we have, as humans, to expect applause when we sing on Sunday morning and praise when we help a friend in need. Who are we serving anyway? Recently, I wanted to participate in an activity at church that would require I take center stage, even if only briefly. I ached to share something that was on my heart with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I never asked to take part though. I was too afraid.
Haven’t you ever been afraid like that? I just knew I would stumble through my lines or no one would like what I had written. The fear ate at me until I was incapable of taking a risk. Instead, I sat and watched the show go on around me. Then, I read somewhere that when we refuse to serve for fear of our own rejection, it is not God we’re serving, but pride. Ouch! Talk about a reality-check.
I think, now, about Jesus’ last meal with His disciples. I can see Him kneeling before them and washing their feet. Close your eyes for a second and picture that. If you can, write down what feelings it evokes. Have you ever washed anyone’s feet or had your feet washed? On either end, you have to lay down your pride. I’ve always been self-conscious of my feet, so when an adult leader in my youth group took my feet in her hands, I trembled. And then there is the one washing them – on their knees holding your dirty feet and cleaning them how a mother bathes an infant.
I can’t begin to imagine my Lord washing my feet, but He had a reason for that action. By serving His disciples in such a humble way, He set an example for us to follow, “I have set you an example.” (John 13:15). We have to set aside our pride and remember whom we’re serving. Jesus said that no servant is greater than his master (John 13:16), and this includes us. The applause belongs to Him. The praise is only for His ears. We have to be willing to serve, even if we are never honored for that service.
Ok, so you’re ready to serve without recognition. What do you do? Who goes through the pews after church and clears away the trash? I bet you don’t hear a lot about them, but someone throws away those used bulletins and gum wrappers. It could be you. Send someone a card or gift for no reason and refuse payment of any sort. Carry an elderly lady’s groceries to her car or open the door for a mom who is juggling three kids and a shopping cart. Do you know a family that is struggling? Leave an anonymous gift of food, diapers or other items on their doorstep. Trust me; they will thank God for you, whoever you are.