I’m still meditating in amazement on a verse I preached on this past Sunday in the 12th chapter of Luke’s’ gospel. Jesus is talking about being prepared for the master’s return and faithfully serving until that day. Then he says, “It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them” (v.37 NIV). I find this thought rather stunning – the idea of the master waiting on the faithful servants. But not only did Jesus say this is the truth, He also modeled it. Remember in the 13th chapter of John’s gospel in what is called the upper room discourse, Jesus set the perfect example. As the disciples were arguing amongst themselves who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God, Jesus girded Himself with a towel and proceeded to get on His knees and wash the disciples’ feet. This is a vivid picture of the Master serving the servants.
Some 30 years ago I was working as a data tech in the Post Office while also going to Bible college full time. I had completed Post Master training (qualified to serve as a postmaster in a smaller branch office), had an excellent rating in the pass program (to become a postal mail supervisor) and had completed a customer service representative training course. Each afternoon as I arrived at the P.O. I had to park and walk past the preferred supervisors parking spots. At the same time I was serving as a deacon in my home church. One day as I was considering these preferred parking spots it dawned on me that leadership in the Kingdom work is far different than leadership in the world. Leadership in the corporate or business world is about power, authority and control. Leadership in kingdom work is about servanthood, humility and surrender. It was a very good realization because at that time I had no idea what direction God was going to be leading my life.
The first 11 ½ years of my ministry I pastored in a denomination that practiced the foot washing service as a third ordinance. This was based on Jesus’ words in the 13th chapter of John’s gospel where Jesus says, “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” (v.13-15 NIV). The foot washing service doesn’t have the same significance in modern culture as it did in the 1st century but the idea of serving another one in following Jesus’ example certainly does. So while I find Jesus’ words about the Master serving the servant hard to swallow or imagine I can certainly see by His example how I am to lead the people He has called me to pastor.
It’s interesting to me that the title Jesus used most frequently to describe Himself was the Son of Man. Isaiah refers to Him as “the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6 NIV). Jesus could have chosen any of these titles to refer to Himself but He chose “the Son of Man”. This title expressed His sympathy and oneness with humanity. Jesus loved humanity so much that He delighted to honor us with this high honor and great dignity for mankind. This title reminds us of the one whom we can approach without fear. The “Son of Man” is also the servant of Man who has given us a model that we should follow in loving and serving one another.
Pastor Rich Sivo