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I Want to Be Like Jesus: To Serve, Not Be Served

I'm not sure about you, but I'm the type who likes to have things a certain way. I'm not the most organized (as a matter of fact, my desk in the church office would prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt), but I know where everything is. Yet when it comes to planning, preparation, and meeting deadlines, I like to be on time, I like to have things done in an orderly manner, and I like to make sure it's all done to my satisfaction. So to humble me, God gave me children and God has me serve His people. My way isn't the way things often happen. There are other personalities, there are other situations, other things going on all the time, so my way isn't the most important way.

The Lord is reminding me I am here to serve, not be served. It's difficult to be a servant, though, isn't it? How often do we allow the conveniences of life get us used to receiving our own way? With near limitless knowledge in our pockets, and access to instant gratification in food, entertainment, and clothing in many of our paths, many of us are used to getting our own way, or at least achieving minimal satisfaction.

Yet Jesus, Lord and Master of all things, stepped in to our space and did not come demanding His way, even though it was well within His right. Instead, He preached to the poor and downtrodden, He touched the lepers, He dined with sinners and tax collectors, He washed feet, and, most importantly, He gave His life as our ransom. As His followers, we're called to imitate Him: we're called to be servants, not to be served or demand our own way. Jesus wasn't, by any means, a pushover. He didn't compromise His father's values, but was obedient to the Father in every way. He gave us His Spirit, that we might walk like Him, following in His steps. Church (big "C" not the local congregation), we need to gather together to serve, as Jesus did, washing feet rather than demanding our place in the Kingdom. We can do such without compromising His values, but it will take, like the Lord is doing to me, a humble spirit. Let us then, in all humility, serve, and give our lives as an offering to the One who gave His life as a ransom for ours. Philippians 2:1-18

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

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