“Let all that you do be done with love.” (I Corinthians 16:14, NKJV)
Have you ever been waited on in a restaurant or store, but the service came with an attitude? Or perhaps this has even happened at home. The task was completed grudgingly—out of obligation rather than love. All of us have probably had times when we’ve “done our duty” but not with the servant’s heart.
John 13 is a passage of Scripture that causes me to pause and reflect. Jesus and the disciples had gathered in an upper room to eat what we often refer to as “the last supper.” While His disciples may have thought this the usual preparation for Passover, Jesus realized what the next hours held. He knew His betrayer sat in the room, and He knew who that person was. Yet, with the utmost humility and the heart of a servant, Jesus lovingly wash each disciple’s feet. Even the feet of Judas. There was no hesitation, no reluctance, no bitterness. He knelt before his betrayer and served him with love.
“So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, 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 should do as I have done to you.’” (John 13:12-15, NKJV).
Throughout His ministry, and even in these final hours, Jesus displayed the perfect example of serving with love. He touched the untouchables. He ate with the despised. He reached out to the broken and downtrodden. He continued to love those who had abused His love.
Put Others First
So what does it mean to serve with love? Philippians 2:3-4 gives us insight on this. “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.” (ESV). The one with a servant’s heart is selfless, thinking more of others than they do of themselves.
On this final night with His disciples before Calvary, Jesus stressed the importance of loving each other as He loved us. When we love as He loved, it becomes easy to serve one another in selfless humility. This is how we show the world we are His disciples. Every action is motivated by love.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, ESV).
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the example You have given us of the power of love. Forgive me for the times I’ve responded to others needs grudgingly and with impatience. Help me to respond with the heartbeat of a servant, willingly, selflessly, and lovingly.