Matthew 20:25-27 – Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave." (NIV)
My friend, "Brooke", hosted her own birthday party recently in the social hall of her church. Three of her five children, their children, their grandchildren plus two great-grandmas, one great-great-grandma, and friends came to share in her special day!
Brooke spent hours planning this event. She bought all the necessary items and prepared them well in advance. She made sure to invite everyone well ahead and emphatically stated there were to be no cards or presents.
The day of the party, after she got to the church, a couple of adult grands helped her set up the hall, and then went home to return later. Left alone in the church kitchen, she prepared the main courses for her own birthday dinner.
When everyone arrived, she let those who knew each other introduce newcomers and friends. Meanwhile, she remained in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on the meal. When the meal was done, "Happy Birthday" sung, and the birthday candle blown out, she rose from the table and began clearing it. She carried many items to the kitchen, and others joined in this task. The last time I looked, she stood at the sink washing up the dishes.
What a delightful time she had puttering around and serving everyone! Most folk want to be served on their birthday, but not Brooke. Her idea of joy is to serve others. In so doing, she became a great example of our Lord's words about those who serve being the greatest in the Kingdom of God.
At the Last Supper, Jesus set aside His good cloak, tied a towel around His waist, took up a basin and pitcher of water and then went from disciple to disciple to kneel before them and wash their feet. It was the job of the most menial of slaves. When He had finished, this is what He observed:
John 13:12b-15 – "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." (NIV)
Multiple times, Jesus taught God's great reversals! In God's kingdom, the values this world holds dear are often reversed because God values life and caring far more than money and prestige.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, shape us into the likeness of Jesus so that we will display the values He taught in our lives, for we pray in His holy name. Amen.