For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45
When you look at the life of Jesus, it is abundantly clear that he lived to serve others. He often sacrificed his own needs (rest, food, comfort, safety) to meet the needs of others. The question we must wrestle with is why did he do that? What would motivate him to put the needs of others above his own? I believe the answer is love.
It is because God so loved the world that he sent Jesus (John 3:16). After washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus instructed that we love one another as he has loved us (John 13:34). Jesus declared that he loves us with the same depth of love as the Father loves him (John 15:9). And Jesus declared there is no greater love than one who lays down his life for his friends (John 15:13).
Jesus leaves no room for doubt that love is what motivated his selfless sacrifice for others.
Is your life characterized by being a servant? Do you have a servant heart? If you struggle with these things (and who doesn’t), we might need to confess our lack of love. I admit that my love for self often inhibits me from giving up things I want or need. I find it too difficult. For instance, in my parenting, I am called to sacrificially serve my children. And yet, there is something in me that reaches a certain point and says “that’s enough.” It’s usually when I have been serving but I don’t get the appreciation I feel I deserve.
This is where it gets challenging. I have to wrestle with whether I am serving in order to be appreciated or serving out of genuine selfless love. Obviously, our motivations are never pure. But, I realize that I often fall into the trap of serving in order to get rather than serving in order to give. Love means serving without expecting anything in return. This is what makes serving so hard.
So, what do we do? How do we cultivate a servant’s heart? Do we just strive to love harder?
The answer cannot be to look deeper inside of ourselves. That’s because we already know that our capacity to love is so limited. The answer is to look beyond ourselves to Jesus. It is when we behold Christ that we are transformed (2 Corinthians 3:18). It is when we remember and meditate on the cross of Christ that something happens in our hearts. We see that our deepest needs have been met in the death and resurrection of Christ. We have unconditional acceptance, forgiveness, meaning in life, strength for today, hope for tomorrow, freedom, joy, and so much more.
When we meditate on these things as not just “concepts” but our current reality, something changes in us. We find a power beyond ourselves to love as we have been loved, to give as we have been given, and to serve as we have been served. When we realize that even the Son of Man, the King of the Universe, did not come to be served, it will become unfathomable that we should do otherwise. So what are you waiting for?