Not to serve, but to be served

It was just a few minutes after six o’clock as I walked in the door after a long day on campus.  As my little ones ran to greet me and showed me their gleeful and messy smiles my daughter exclaimed “Daddy is making you a peach pie!”.

Jon was in the kitchen and so I curiously poked my ahead around the corner, knowing that whatever he was whipping up in there was probably not a peach pie.

My daughter wasn’t too far off, as he was just getting ready to put a cottage pie in the oven.  Cottage pie is one of his ‘specialities’, inherited from his mom. Every time we arrive at my in-laws after a long day of traveling, there is a cottage pie waiting.  Jon knows that I love this dish and the emotional response it evokes in me of comfort, of coming home and of ceasing for the day .  He also knew that I was feeling particularly stressed and weary and so had already fed our son and daughter and prepared this dinner for the two of us to enjoy after the kids’ bedtime – along with a bottle of wine, and the promise of a back rub while watching one of my favorite movies (The Fellowship of the Ring, if you must know).

I have myself one darn good husband.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening but also couldn’t help but feel guilty,because I don’t quite deserve such treatment.  Because I don’t cook enough special dinners for him to reciprocate.  Because he went to too much trouble.

Earlier in the day, before I arrived home to a fresh peach cottage pie I had met with a student who was at her wits end, convicted of the fact that she cares more about other people’s relationship with God than her own.  “I feel really unhealthy, too” she continued “because I want to go running but don’t feel like I deserve to take time to myself”.

I cringed inside because I knew that my life reflected that exact sentiment.  For all my words to her, my actions were what was being emulated.  What kind of spiritual mother was I, to be passing on the idolatry of loving God’s work more than I loved God himself?

Why is it so much easier to serve others, than to be served?

I think most people drawn to leadership and ministry fall into this pattern, and certainly most mothers and fathers as well.

Jon shared this verse in our latest prayer letter from the Gospel of Mark; “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”

If it is easier for us to serve than to have others serve us, how much more is this true when it is God himself who desires to be our servant?

Jesus sets out to heal.

Jesus sets out to comfort

To touch.

To call.

To feed.

To get down on his knees and wash our feet.

To give his life as a ransom.

And oh how I loooovvveee this about Jesus.  This is what I share with everyone who will listen.  Yet when they are my own dirty feet that Jesus wants to wash, I squirm and resist and deflect like a stubborn child who is so extremely overtired, they can’t be calmed down enough from their manic state to take a nap.

So I am asking myself the question, “how does Jesus want to serve me?

How does Jesus the King want to serve me?

Asking myself that question stirs up a longing in me, that is matched perfectly with my Savior’s ability to fulfill. Yet it is only a momentary longing, a fleeting desire before the squirming and resisting and deflecting take over.  Guilt.  Unworthiness.  Busyness.  Scabs that don’t want to be opened for deeper healing.  Unconfessed sin.  Pride.

My dream is to say “no” to this resisting and “yes” to Jesus today.

Today I think this might look like letting the floor be dirty for just one more day so that I can take a bath in silence, stillness and solitude.

Tomorrow, it might look like something different.

What will it look like for you to be served by King Jesus today?


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