The Last and the Servant

servantWho gets to be a servant.

When we were kids, we often fought over who got to sit in the front of Mama’s station wagon. If you didn’t get to sit in the front, then you at least wanted to sit at one of the doors in the back. But the person who sat at the door in the back had to get out and open the (non-electric) garage door when we came home. Sometimes this meant ducking your head and sliding around in the snow amid glowering wind as you inched your way forward to reach that garage door handle and jerk it up, up, up.

When we left home, the person who sat at the door on the right had to shut the garage door once the station wagon backed out of the garage. We could not leave until that door was shut, and so you had to get out and shut that door!

I suppose, in that event, we learned a little about being a servant. If you wanted to privilege of having “the best seat” you had to serve. None of us liked opening and closing that garage door in the winter, but it was worth it (we thought) to get to sit where we wanted to sit.

What Jesus says about who we serve

One day the disciples and Jesus journeyed to Capernaum. There were a bunch of them, and I’m sure there were quite a few conversations among them as they walked to this town.

Jesus asked them, “What were you all talking about on the way here?”

Nobody answered (probably because they did not want Him to know). But Jesus already knew – and that’s probably why He asked the question in the first place.

The gospel of Mark says Jesus sat down and called the twelve to Him. Then He said, “If anyone will be first, he must be last of all and a servant   of all.” 

Jesus went on to show how important it is to treat others well, especially children. The same account says Jesus took a child into His arms and said, “Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me, receives not Me, but Him who sent me.” 

Jesus told His disciples that we must become servant of ALL. This includes young and old and everyone in-between. Not just the important, but the least important. We are called to serve: not just the wealthy, but the least wealthy; not just adults, but the children. It is not a choice.

From last to first = servant

When my sisters and I “served” by opening and closing the garage door, we weren’t serving to serve. We were serving to get. Jesus calls us to something much greater. Whether it’s helping with our children’s program at church or treating elderly with respect, we are called to serve. 

David, the ruddy, smelly, shepherd boy, learned to serve among his father’s flock of sheep. He protected them from lions and bears and other wild animals. His cunning ability to watch for danger and evil prepared him to meet Goliath unafraid. He learned service from being among those sheep. Later, God moved him to a palace as King. 

The bottom line is that we will never become great without first learning to serve. The first only becomes first by becoming a servant of all. We become by doing. We serve.

How is your serve?

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