Welcome to ReCreate Ministry. Our mission is making and growing authentic followers of Christ. Last year, my community group went with a group of people from around the DFW area to do some work on a house in the area. Everyone in the group had different talents, and we all had different jobs to do at the house. I’m not a carpenter, mechanic, or even designer, so my job for the day was painting, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My friend Elijah was the rock star of the day. He has a background in construction, so he was put in charge of almost all of the carpentry stuff that we did on the house. He built the family who’s house we were working on a brand new back porch, and it was amazing. It was honestly one of the best looking back porches I’ve ever seen, and I kind of wished I could have one like it. All in all, it was an amazing day, and I genuinely hope that we are able to partner with 6Stone again at some point.
This week, we are continuing our Next Steps series, and we are going to be talking today about serving. As Christians, we are called to serve in whatever capacity we are able to, and we have each been given gifts that we can use to do this. Thomas Brooks said “The best way to do ourselves good is to be doing good to others; the best way to gather is to scatter.”
No one showed us what it meant to serve better than Jesus. Our text this week comes from John 13. Some of you may know this story well, but it holds a special place for me because I’ve actually experienced this. When I was in high school, we went on a mission trip to Sonaste, New Mexico. We spent the entire week teaching VBS to the kids on the reservation, but the last day we were there, we went up on a mountaintop where we actually went around and washed each other’s feet. It was a tremendously powerful experience, and it is something that has stuck with me even to this day.
John 13:1 – 17 (NIV) says “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘No,’ said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus answered, ‘A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.’ For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘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. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.’” My first point is this.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to have been Judas, and to have Jesus wash your feet know full well what you’re about to do? This is the most selfless act of love that has been shown to the disciples to this point, and Jesus never hesitates, even when He comes to Judas. Most of us will never have someone betray us to the point of our death, but we will all be hurt by someone in our life. Jesus’ example of love is not just a recommendation for us, but a command. Galatians 5:13 – 14a (NLT) says “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sister. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Do we do this? Would we be willing to wash the feet of the person who cuts us off on the highway? Would we be willing to wash the feet of the person who broke our heart, abused us, put us down? Would you be willing to wash the feet of the person who betrayed you? Matthew 20:28 (NIV) says “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus took on the job that was normally reserved for slaves to show us how we are to love others, even those who have betrayed us. My second point is this:
Let’s talk about this for a second. What if Jesus had only chosen to serve those people that He liked? In a few months, we’re going to go through a series called Let’s Talk About It, and it’s going to tackle some issues that are hot-button issues in our world right now, but let’s start today by asking ourselves if we are really willing to serve even those that we don’t like. Romans 12:9 – 13 (NCV) says “Your love must be real. Hate what is evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves. Do not be lazy but work hard, serving the Lord with all your heart. Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when troubles come, and pray at all times. Share with God’s people who need help. Bring strangers in need into your homes.” I’ll admit, this one is hard for me. I’ve always been the person who cuts off communication with those who have hurt me, and I do so with the excuse of protecting myself against further hurts. Instead of helping me to love people better, it did the opposite. I closed my heart off to certain people, and it caused me to not care about them at all. Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t protect yourself against those who have hurt you. There is such a thing as safe boundaries, and it may not always be possible to think about people this way, but if it is, we should always be willing to do it. Booker T Washington said “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” The times when I have been happiest in my life are the times when I have done things for others, such as the day we spent working as a community group on someone’s house. Throughout the New Testament, we are shown the importance of example. John 13:15 (NIV) says “I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you.” This brings me to my last point:
I’ve never thought of service as a chance to be in the spotlight, but I was told by someone that people, especially those who are new to church, often see those who serve as the leaders of the church. It never really occurred to me that people were looking at those of us who serve as leaders, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized the importance of that. Did you ever think that your service might actually inspire someone else to serve? My friend Greg Bradford is the youth minister at Lake Pointe Church, and he says “If we don’t make serving a big deal in the lives of our kids, we may unintentionally reinforce the belief that the world revolves around them.” A few years ago, I took my daughter with me to the nursing home that our community group served at on the weekends. Every Saturday, a few people from our group would go and play Bingo with the people in the nursing home. I was actually a little nervous going in, because I thought she would complain about having to spend the afternoon in a nursing home, but she jumped right in, and even called out the numbers for Bingo for a couple of rounds.
We are most like Christ when we are willing to serve others. Jesus very easily could have spent His time just teaching His disciples, but He was much more interested in showing them how to live out the life He was calling them to. If we are to be Jesus’ messengers in the world, we must be willing to serve those in it, and Jesus gave us examples of how to do that. Let’s thank Him for that.
Thank You for coming to this world as a servant and setting an example for us of how we are to serve others. I pray that we would look for opportunities in this world to serve, even to serve those who it may be uncomfortable for us to do so. Lord, I pray that You bring healing to our world. We are bombarded with so much violence and hatred, and I pray that we would have the strength to go into the dark places of the world and show Your light. I pray for the families of those lost, and I pray that You would use this tragedy to draw us closer together. Most of all, I thank You for Jesus, and it’s in His Name I pray.
Next week, we will be continuing our series by talking about leading. It’s actually kind of the 2nd half of this week’s message in a way, so I hope you will check in with us next week. If you have never made the decision to follow Christ, or you would like to know more about what it means to have a servant’s heart, feel free to reach out to us. Have a blessed week!!!!!