Let’s be honest—serving is not the most exciting thing. Sure, once we do it (usually after we’re compelled or coerced), we see how satisfying and rewarding it is. It feels great when we do help people, when we positively impact their lives in a tangible way.
The problem is getting us to do it freely and consistently.
Looking out for others is not our natural inclination. Most of us don’t wake up in the morning thinking about how we can make life easier for someone else or what we can do to help carry another person’s load. After all, we’ve got plenty of our own burdens to bear. We’ve got our own interests to look out for and our own families to take care of and our own goals to accomplish.
But as believers, we should always be seeking to walk more closely in the footsteps of the Lord that we claim to follow. And Jesus said point blank that He came to serve, not to be served.
The Lord’s example in John 13 is a powerful and challenging one. What the text reveals about His spirit will help us to cultivate a heart of service. According to verse 3, Jesus knew three important things that equipped Him to wash feet. You and I need to know them too.
Know who you are! Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power. He knew that He was royalty. He knew that He reigned. You need to know that you are a powerful child of a powerful God. You need to know that you rule! That you have authority. That you are highly exalted in Christ. That you’re already sitting with Him in heavenly places.
When you know you’re a son, you don’t see it as a slight to serve.
When you have absolute and unshakable confidence in your position, you don’t worry that stooping down to help someone else will somehow diminish you. The greatest kings and queens are the ones whose crowns don’t go to their heads, the ones who remember that they’re people too. When you know who you are, you realize that you have nothing to lose by serving others.
Know where you come from! Jesus knew that He had come from God. He knew that He was with God in the beginning. He knew that He was divinely commissioned. You need to know that you come from God, that He’s the Author of life who made you, and you had nothing to do with it (Psalm 100:3). That you, along with all of your gifts and talents and blessings, originate in the perfect will of the Almighty.
When you understand your divine point of origin, you can’t help but have a sense of divine purpose. If God put you here, if He sent you out, then you know it was for a reason deeper than just your own personal satisfaction. Knowing where you come from keeps you mindful of the mission and conscious of the One who commissioned you.
Know where you’re going! Jesus knew that He was going back to God. He knew that no force in heaven or on earth could keep Him from His destination. And he knew that when He got there, He would once again take up the mantle of glory that He laid aside to put on flesh. You need to know that you’re headed home when this journey is done, and that there’s something awesome and wonderful awaiting your arrival.
When you know beyond any doubt that there’s a place prepared for you in glory, you stop worrying about prominence and prestige down here. Humility isn’t as hard when you know that your exaltation is just over the horizon. When you know where you’re going, you know that there are rewards you can’t even imagine waiting for you. You know that all of your labor will be honored by God then and there, even if no one recognizes it here and now.
Knowledge is power, and the right knowledge will empower you with the strength to serve.