The wisest man to ever live came to serve and give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He could have had anything and everything. After all, Jesus was the Son of God – fully eternal and fully human. He could have been born to a wealthy family or claimed a place of power that would have provided a platform for His words and miracles. Yet He chose to humble Himself. He was born not to the affluent but to a teenage virgin in a stable, surrounded by animals. He didn’t fight for position but served from the center of the masses, one of them instead of elevating Himself above them. So how can we model His example? How can we serve like Jesus in a world that tells us to get ahead instead of offering a helping hand?
1. Jesus demonstrated wisdom and servanthood in how He prayed and positioned Himself.
Jesus realized that in order to do what His Father had called Him to, it was important to stay close to Him. He would retreat to spend time with the Father and then He would rejoin the disciples and people. He placed Himself where He could serve. He served the Lord first so He could serve others second. He prayed for God to have His way, and He also prayed for us. We best model His example when we invest time in our relationship with the Lord, praying for strength to do His will and the courage to love others. Then we have to place ourselves around the people that need to see and feel the love of Jesus.
2. Jesus identified the bigger need and then engaged to meet the individual felt needs.
Jesus knew that the biggest need of those He came in contact with was an understanding and acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God. But before people could hear and truly see who Jesus was, He met the need the people thought they had. When the masses gathered, He fed them. When the disciples were fishing, He told them where and how to catch the most fish. When the woman at the well came for water, He met her need to be known and seen as more than the woman who had been married multiple times.
In psychology terms, experts call this Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Many times, people can’t see the deeper need until the surface need has been met. Medical teams take mission trips so that they can meet the physical needs, and in doing so, share about the Great Physician. Taking a meal to the new mom in your office meets a need, builds relationship, and allows you to be heard when you invite her to Bible study or share how much Jesus loves her. Jesus met basic needs so He could ultimately point people to the fulfillment of their greatest need – understanding and knowing the Bread of Life and Living Water.
3. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice.
He was a servant to the end. He washed His disciples’ feet. He even served His captors by protecting them from an enraged disciple who sought to defend Him. He went all the way to the cross, and then He prayed for those who condemned Him. He loved therefore He served. And we can model His sacrificial actions in different ways. What does it look like to sacrifice your time to love someone else, even when it means abandoning your plans? How can you give your resources in such a way that meets the needs of others but may mean giving up luxuries that month? As Easter approaches, how can we pray and plan to host anther family who doesn’t know Christ, even if it means deviating from our normal Sunday routine or Easter activities?
Serving others is central to walking in the footsteps of our loving God. Sometimes it isn’t easy, but it always blesses those around us. It reflects the care and intentionality of the heart of God for them. As Easter approaches and some consider stepping foot in church for the first time, how can we practice serving them like Jesus in a way that makes them want to know Him more?