Being Still in Service (Lent 38-2014)

Some of us struggle with letting other people serve us.  True, there are many people out there who love having everyone serve them.  But for some of us—whether on account of pride or competence or self-esteem or being in a position of being powerful and needed, or just greatly disliking inconveniencing anyone—we would rather struggle through and even do without than have someone serve us.

I don’t know why I do this.

I remember after my daughter died, one of the teaching leaders from Community Bible Study came over and admonished me to let people serve me as I take time to grieve.  She said, “People in this world who enjoy serving others can find it difficult to let others have the joy of serving too.  Right now, people will want to do things for you because you’ve always been there for them.  It’s your turn to receive grace.”

John 13:1 It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. 2 The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. SGL 38  I'm at the Last Supper and You're washing my feet. Peter.5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. 12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

It’d be easy to project myself onto Peter…full of pride, fearful of not being in control, and opinionated.  Why did Peter respond in verse 9, “Then, Lord…not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”?  Read back over verses 6-8.  I wonder if Peter had a sense of dread in him as he watched Jesus start with other disciples.  Dreading having Jesus do something for him.  Dreading the humiliation of what Jesus was doing.  Maybe even judging it to be inappropriate.  Verse 8 is an emphatic statement.

You shall never wash my feet.”

What was rising up in Peter?  There was something not still in him.  After Jesus explains why He is going to wash Peter’s feet, then Peter continues by telling Jesus what to do and how to do it.  It is the pendulum swing from not wanting to be served at all to commanding how it ought to be done.  Peter was having a rough time with being still about service.

Be Still.  John 13: 16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Be Still.  Let go of the pride that mimics humility.  Genuine humility is expressed in no-strings-attached service.  In serving for the sake of love.

Be Still and Know that I AM God.  This is what Scripture says about Me: Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!

Be Still and Know that I AM God.  See all the ways I’ve condescended to have a relationship with you.  There is no power play in what I do.  I do what I do because I AM Love.  Get to know Me and you’ll know how to serve others rightly.

Questions for reflection:

  1.  Do you like it when people serve you?  What kinds of feelings does it engender?  Is a feeling of guilt among those emotions?  Why do some of us feel guilty?
  2. Can you remember a time when you were forced by the circumstances of life to be a grace recipient?
  3. Most of us have been in a classroom environment when the teacher starts going around the room and asking each person a question or to say something.  Think of some strategies for how can you be still in times like that.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on April 17, 2014

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