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MM00081 Secure to serve

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Mentoring Manna:  Secure to serve, Secure to lead

© 2003 Pastor Keith Hassell



John 13:3-5 (NKJV) “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.  After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.”  Although Jesus Christ is God, He came to this earth in the form of a servant.  Jesus said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”[1] Jesus came to this world with a mission to serve.

            Just before being crucified, Jesus ate the Passover meal with His disciples. After supper He proceeded to clothe Himself as a servant then wash His disciple’s feet.  How could Jesus, the Son of God, lower Himself to this estate? How could He, the Creator, wash the feet of those He had created?  His ability to serve others was found in His relationship with His Father.  Jesus was secure to serve. Jesus was secure to lead.

            After washing their feet, Jesus said to His disciples: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”[2] And yet, today we find in the church an attitude of spiritual elitism that seeks its kingdom now, to be the lord over men now, to be served now, to be exalted now. However, in the culture of the kingdom, as demonstrated in Jesus’ life, servant hood precedes exaltation.[3]  There is nothing inherently wrong with someone serving us. It is inherent in this servant kingdom that we too will find ourselves being served by others. However, it is the mindset that seeks to be served rather than to serve that violates the nature of the kingdom. Jesus did not cultivate spiritual elitism among His followers through His teaching or by His example. Jesus taught and modeled the great virtue of a servant’s heart.

            Jesus was secure in His relationship with the Father. He knew that His Father had given all things into His hands. No one could take this from Him.  He knew that He had come from the Father and that He was going back to the Father. Jesus was the Son of God.  Taking the form of a servant could not alter that.  Washing His disciple’s feet could not undermine His position or authority.  Rather through acts of service Jesus redefined the nature of kingdom authority whereby the greatest in the kingdom are the servants of all.[4]  With this knowledge Jesus confidently expressed His love by washing the feet of His disciples. Like a mother who lovingly serves her children in the daily routines of life, Jesus served His own with an attitude of true care, relationship, and love.

            Interestingly, Jesus did not lose the respect of those He served. On the contrary, He gained their respect. These men loved Jesus all the more. Jesus did not demand their following; He won their following through love. Let us consider the words of the Apostle Paul who said, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant…”[5] Jesus set the example. If we are His disciples, we will follow.


Application:  We need to cultivate a servant’s heart and be clothed with the attitude of Christ. To do this, we must first be secure enough to serve.  If not, we will lead out of our insecurities, selfishness, and pride rather than out of a true servant’s heart. We will seek to be lords rather than servants. We will seek position rather than productivity.  We will seek to control and contain others rather than to empower them.  Are you secure in your Heavenly Father’s love?  The understanding of who we are in Christ can give us the security we need to lay aside our garments of ego and pride, make ourselves of no reputation, and then gird ourselves with the mind that was in Christ Jesus.  Through love we can exhibit to others the true nature of kingdom greatness---a servant’s heart.


Prayer:  “Heavenly Father, help me to have the heart of a servant.  Help me to lay aside the proud and selfish mindsets that keep me from being like You.  Help me to have the attitude that was in Christ Jesus so that I too may take up the towel and exhibit kingdom greatness by serving others.  I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”


[1] Matthew 20:28 NKJV

[2] John 13:14 NKJV

[3] Philippians 2:5-11

[4] Matthew 20:25-28

[5] Philippians 2:5-7 NKJV

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