Servant King

Christians in Pakistan

I remember one day in my early twenties sweeping a floor in a soup kitchen for the umpteenth time and using their hand brush while on my knees to get EVERYTHING off the floor and into the wastebasket when I thought I would eventually graduate from service. Ya know, helping people and serving them. Like the cleaning toilets and taking out the trash kind of stuff.

I remember having lofty thoughts of leading something or speaking somewhere or doing something IMPORTANT. Something that would impact the world and make a mark. One day. One day I would graduate from service.

I can tell you now, a decade later — I will never graduate from service. If I will one day lead others, I will lead them into service. If I speak, I will speak about loving God, themselves, and others well. There has been a change but the change has been within me; I no longer hold a desire to move on to something else.

I still sweep floors, clean toilets, and take out the trash. I still wash others dishes, underwear, and throw away their leftovers. I still wipe that rag along baseboard so dust doesn’t make a home, and I scrub tiles in the kitchen so residue doesn’t stay for long.
Jesus never graduated from service, rather he graduated his disciples into service. His last night with them was spent on his knees getting his hands in their dirt and washing their feet. He didn’t have to. It wasn’t because they were worthy of the act. He did it because it revealed the likeness and nature of his father.

He may not have specifically been inviting them into the life of Cinderella, but in part, he was. Every day some of the people I am most impressed with in the world are not on television shows or the radio; they are people cleaning up the bathroom mistake of their elderly father or mother who didn’t quite make it in their feebleness to the toilet. They are the mothers and fathers who faithfully love an adolescent who hates them back and is being self-destructive. They are the beautiful families that serve siblings or spouses who are handicapped and will never live independently from their care or even have the mind or ability enough to say “Thank you.”

Not only does God serve the needy and take care of the poor, he invites us to something even harder. Welcome to not necessarily graduation from service, but maybe the next lesson within it: “27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. […] 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. […] 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, […] Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Lk 6

God never graduated from service. While he was on his knees in front of his friends he was king of the Jews with an unseen crown representing all authority on his head. Jesus was himself called a servant of God, executing his father’s will as his own. His admonishment for greatness was in fact this very thing. “Jesus called the twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mk 9:35

My challenge is to not resent the tasks at hand before you; the tasks for which you don’t get paid, the tasks for which no one notices, the tasks for which you won’t get any online attention. And we can all be leaders, but the manner in which we lead says more than our words do. After all, its ultimately him we can do these things and live this life for. It’s him we say thank you to as we exhale our breath, or gaze upon a loved one. It’s him who sees.

 

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