My grandmother taught me that God made each one of us with gifts that are to be used for the greater good, in service to others and that God expects us to utilize these gifts with excellence. Not for ourselves, but for the benefit of others. She taught me that service to others is not work; it is a state of mind. My grandmother had one goal – to hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant” when she entered Glory. Now, my Granny Dot was not a prominent or powerful woman. She was the classic farmer’s wife; a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother; friend and teacher to many, and a woman of God. These simple words of wisdom exemplify how she lived her life; displayed everyday in word and deed.
Today we find this concept to be foreign or so confused in our culture that it is unrecognizable. I have struggled, prayed and cried over the lack of fulfillment in myself and others, in the promise of what could have been or what might be, not because we can’t do something, but because we choose not to. Instead we choose to live in the ‘what’s in it for me’ world of today. We choose not to help that neighbor or friend. We choose not show kindness and empathy. We chose not to get involved in our community or to be part of our church's mission. We chose not to! Not because we can’t, but because it would interfere with what we have planned for ourselves. Yes, I do know that ‘no’ is a good word and that some of us don't use it often enough, and become so burned out that we can’t do anything anymore. That's not what I'm voicing here. What I am voicing is concern about the things that we allow to take precedence in our lives; the 'what's in it for me’ mentality that is so prevalent in our society today. Here is a question for you. Do you think Jesus asked himself ‘what’s in it for me’ when in John 13: 1-5 we read these words from the NLT:
“Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.”
Jesus knew – He knew! He knew that the time was coming quickly when He would not only give over His Body, but His Mind, His Will, and His Strength. He knew what the coming days would ask of Him. Jesus also knew that Judas was going to betray him. Read those words from John closely. He loved His disciples. It doesn’t say that Jesus loved eleven of His disciples. It says he loved His disciples, and that means that Jesus also washed the feet of Judas. That means that Jesus loved Judas even though He knew what he had done. Jesus knew this – He knew and He chose to do it anyway. He knew and He chose to become a servant, not just to wash the feet of the disciples, not just to demonstrate to them what they would learn in the future, and not just to tell them that 'the least among you will be the greatest'. He chose to serve because He KNEW. He knew what was coming and He still got up and got busy. Jesus got up and went about His Father’s business, and so must we, everyday and with everything that we do. God made each one of us with gifts that are to be used for the greater good, in service to others, and God expects us to utilize these gifts with excellence. Not for ourselves, but for the benefit of others, for the greater good. It’s not all about us, but it is all about Jesus.