My father’s often said that we live in an upside down kingdom. And most days, this doesn’t make much sense to me. It’s just that there’s something unusual about the idea that the world in which we live is upside down, and the kingdom of God is right side up. But that is part of the mystery of what we are having to deal with as followers of Christ in this world.
The word focus for today is “serve.” Jesus said that the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. He told the disciples that if any one wants to be the greatest in the kingdom, he must become the servant of all.
One of the great mysteries of the Christian faith is that service is the highest goal. Service is the measure by which we determine who has properly understood and who has properly received the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is a king. When he was born, he was born King of kings and Lord of lords. On the inscription over his cross as he was crucified, it listed him as the King of the Jews. But the world did not receive him as a king, because the world did not understand that he was a king of those who lived in service to each other.
One of the most amazing passages of Scripture that Jesus ever told His disciples was when he said to them, that the world will know that they were his disciples by their love one for another. How is this love supposed to be expressed? How is the world ever going to know what this love looks like?
The reality is that the love that God has given to us in and through the person and ministry of Jesus Christ can only be expressed in service. When we give of ourselves to one another we are serving and embodying the fullness of what God desires for us. When we surrender our rights, and we look for the good of others, even if it costs us something that we are not ready or even unwilling to give, we are truly serving one another.
This is the power of this season of Lent. We are going to be challenged each and every day for the next few weeks to consider, what is it that we are unwilling to surrender in order to serve one another? The greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity for us to demonstrate what we have learned, how we have grown, and how God has transformed us into persons who are more willing to give than to receive. This is the great wonder of the gospel.
The Gospel challenges us to consider that there are things greater and have greater worth than we could ever have ever imagined. If we would just surrender ourselves to the reality and maybe even the possibility that what God has for us is so much better than we could ever have accomplished for ourselves. But because our imaginations are so small, all we can see is what’s in front of us.
I don’t know about you, but I want to serve better. I want to serve more intentionally. I want to serve more deeply. But if that’s going to happen, I have to let go of what I think it means to be a servant. I have to look to Jesus as the primary example of my life. I need to turn to him and trust in Him to teach me, to lead me, to help me to see that service is not just something I do. It is who I am becoming.