Serving

Alissa Morrisson

Serving

If you are too big to serve, you are too small to lead. 

Serving is about the posture of your heart, not how much you are actively doing. When it comes to serving, we get to follow the purest and most humble example of it in the person of Jesus. 

Jesus’ heart posture for serving came out of his desire for his people to know him and love him. 

He led and loved by serving. He washed feet. He fed the hungry. He quenched the thirst of the thirsty. He healed the sick. He spent time with the lonely and exiled. He welcomed and entertained children. He loved and gave without the expectation of it returning. 

Philippians 2:3-5 

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”

Most believers reading this might look past the idea of serving, assuming they already understand all that word means. What we need to understand is that serving has nothing to do with how much you do, and everything to do with the posture of your heart. 

Whether it’s in the local church, a para-church organization, or just serving your community, God cares about the heart behind your serving. It can be easy to make our serving “works” based. We can easily fall into the trap of believing the more we serve God, the more good standing we have with Him or the more treasures in heaven we gain. This is not the heart posture we are called to have. 

Our serving has to come from a place of adoration for Jesus and a pouring out of the Holy Spirit on earth. 

Jesus washing the feet of the disciples (John 13:1–17) occurred during the Last Supper and has two viewpoints. For Jesus, this act was the display of His humility and His servanthood. For the disciples, the washing of their feet was in direct contrast to their heart attitudes at that time.

Jesus’ attitude of serving was in direct contrast to that of the disciples, who had recently been arguing among themselves as to which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24). Since there was no servant present to wash their feet, it would never have occurred to them to wash one another’s feet. When the Lord Himself stooped to this lowly task, they were stunned into silence. Peter was profoundly uncomfortable with the Lord washing his feet, and protested, “You shall never wash my feet!”

Then Jesus said something that must have further shocked Peter: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (John 13:8), prompting Peter, whose love for the Savior was genuine, to request a complete washing. Then Jesus explained the true meaning of being washed by Him. Peter had experienced the cleansing of salvation and did not need to be washed again in the spiritual sense. 

Salvation is a one-time act of justification by faith, but the lifelong process of sanctification is one of washing from the stain of sin we experience as we walk through the world. 

When we come to Christ for the washing of our sins, we can be sure that it is permanent and complete. No act can cleanse us further from our sin, as our sin has been exchanged for the perfect righteousness of Christ on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). We need continual cleansing from the effects of living in the flesh in a sin-cursed world through Holy Spirit. The continual washing of sanctification is done by the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives within us, through the “washing of water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:26), given to us to equip us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

Further, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He told them (and us), “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15). As His followers, we are to emulate Him, serving one another in lowliness of heart and mind, seeking to build one another up in humility and love. When we have that servant’s heart, the Lord promised, we will be greatly blessed (John 13:17).

Serving is about the posture of our hearts from understanding the sanctification in our lives, who God is, and allowing Holy Spirit to lead us. A lot of formation in us as men and women of God happens offline, serving without a spotlight. It forms your character to lead and love like Jesus. Long before you are over others, you need to be under others faithfully and humbly.