The Lesson of Service

J. R. Miller, 1905
 

"He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself. Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples' feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him." John 13:4-5

Serving is not an easy lesson to learn. But it is a lesson we must learn—if ever we would become like our Master. Jesus did not come to be served—but to serve. He served to the uttermost, just as He loved to the uttermost. Any service that needed to be done for another—He did as naturally and as simply as He breathed! He loved people, and was interested in them and was ready always to be helpful to them. It never mattered what the service was, whether it was the saving of a soul, the curing of a grievous sickness, or the giving of a cup of water—He did the least service—as graciously and as divinely as the greatest!

The washing of feet was the lowliest service any man could do for another. It was the work of the lowliest slave. Yet Jesus without hesitation, did this service for His own disciples. Thus He taught them that nothing anyone may ever need to have done by another—is unfit for the holiest hands. We begin to be like Christ—only when we begin to love others enough to serve them, regardless of the lowliness of the particular service.

One day a stranger entered an artist's studio in Milan. The artist was busy within. He was working on a painting of the head of Christ and appeared to take no notice of the stranger. At last he broke the silence, looked at the man and asked, "Sir, does it look like Jesus—or not?"

There is no surer test of the genuineness of Christian life—than in this matter of serving others. In serving others, we should inquire, "Are we like Jesus—or not?" We are too careful of our dignity. When we see the Son of God washing His disciples' feet—we should be ashamed ever to ask whether anything another may need to have done—is too menial for us to do. A king may do the lowliest kindness to the poorest peasant in his realm—and his honor will only be enhanced by it.

"O blessed Jesus, when I see You bending,
Girt as a servant—at Your servants' feet,
Love, lowliness, might—in zeal all blending,
To wash their feet—and make them meet
To share Your feast—I know not to adore,
Whether Your humbleness—or glory more!"