Friday, April 01, 2011

Day 21 of Lent :: True Service

“Learn the lesson, if you are to do the work of a prophet, 

what you need is not a scepter but a hoe.”
(Bernard of Clairvaux)

We learned in the Upper Room
that the towel is a symbol of service.  As Jesus was making His way toward the hill called Golgotha, we saw the cross as a symbol of submission.  Jesus willingly accepted the cross, but the Bible tells us that Simon from Cyrene was “forced” to carry the cross. (Mark 15:21)  The question is, what about us?  When presented with opportunities of submission and service to God and others, do we accept them willingly?

“Radical self-denial,”
writes Foster, “gives the feel of adventure… In service, we must experience the many little deaths of going beyond ourselves.  Service banishes us to the mundane, the ordinary, the trivial.”2  Some people only want to serve a person of greater status or serve a cause of cosmic scale. A true servant is not enamored or impressed with the size of a project, nor is he enchanted by the status or title of the person being served.  D.L. Moody, the great evangelist of the 1800’s, said it well: “There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.”  A true servant does not distinguish between the small acts of service and the large.  A true servant understands that what is done for oneself or merely done to be recognized by others will die with him.  St. Francis of Assisi captured the essence of true service in a statement he wrote, “Being the servant of all, I am bound to serve all and to administer the balm-bearing words of my Lord.”3

Reflection: Are you more prone to look for opportunities to serve others, or do you frequently expect others to serve you?  Do you discriminate when choosing whom you serve?  For example, do you willingly serve your boss but not necessarily serve someone of a lesser position?  If so, in your thinking, the service rendered to your boss may have more to do with you than with the boss.
Our world determines greatness by how many people serve you. 
God defines greatness by how many people you serve.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, help me recognize the person You bring across my path today whom I may serve.”

Action: As you go about your day, actively look for ways to serve others.  Do not discriminate in your service.

“The greatest among you will be your servant.”

(Matthew 23:11)

1 Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, 126.
2 Ibid.
3 St. Francis of Assisi, Selections from the Writings of St. Francis of Assisi, 25.

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