Imagine the scene: You are sitting in a private dinner room at a fine restaurant. You are there celebrating the end of a 3-year project with about a dozen colleagues who you have been working with to make the endeavour a success. This meal is a reward for all the hard work you have put in to complete the project. Sitting at the head of the table is the company CEO; he has joined you so that he can personally thank you for your hard work. As you look around the table, you see mostly empty plates and glasses along with used cloth napkins tossed next to dirty forks and knives. The evening is winding down. The CEO gets up from his chair, takes off his suit jacket, grabs a towel and placing it over his arm begins to clear the table. He goes around to each person to ask if they are finished eating and proceeds to gather up the plates, silverware and napkins. When he comes to you, you are dumbfounded but allow him to clear your spot as well. Just as he turns to put your plate on the tray sitting next to the table you can’t help by ask “Why are you doing this?” The answer is as surprising as the sight you are witnessing: “Because I am the CEO, what else would I do?”
Is the scene familiar? I have never been in a room where this has happened. There are many men and women who are amazing servant-leaders and have risen to high ranking positions; so, the actions may be more common than I think. However, the reasoning behind it, I would be willing to bet, has happened only once:
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. – John 13:3-5
I have heard or read this story many times, but the one word that I had never noticed was “so”. If a sentence has the word so between two clauses, it denotes that the second clause was a direct reaction to the first. Jesus, knowing He had everything in His power, thought the natural response was to take the lowest serving position He could at the moment. The Ruler of the Universe knew the right thing to do was to be the ultimate servant.
I won’t speak for everyone, but if I was in Jesus’ position, I would be kicking off my sandals, eyeing the basin and water to see who would take the hint and get up to wash MY feet. I want to be the one being served, given respect and honoured. In God’s kingdom, no act of service is beneath anyone; respect and honour go to the one doing the serving. I need to take Jesus’ actions to heart and look for ways to serve Him and others with the attitude He displayed. Instead of looking around for someone to serve me, I need to always be looking for ways to serve others. As a Christian, it should be the natural thing to do.