“…the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
A retired pastor once remarked to me, “Early in my ministry I used to complain that people constantly interrupted my work, until I discovered that the interruptions WERE my work.”
Our time seems to have its share of fearful, defensive, preoccupied people anxiously clinging to their property and well-worn routines and inclined to view the immediate world around them with suspicion and distrust. Even the closest relationships may be treated as unwelcome interruptions.
What a contrast we see in the life of Jesus. His days were characterized by attentiveness to those who often interrupted Him. While the religious folk guarded their morality, the wealthy their shekels, and the average people courted indifference, Jesus gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, forgiveness to real sinners and all with a graciousness that expected nothing in return.
When we live as servants of others it is not so blessings will come back to us. Among the great benefits of servanthood is the discovery that we can get along with so little.
In a world full of strangers pursuing the mute gods of affluence and the uninterrupted projects of the self, the Christian and the Christian community are called to practice hospitality and welcome. This need for community and relationship is probably why many of us were drawn to churches in the first place. It’s a good place to start but there is more. Sooner or later the mature Christian will begin to realize that “How can this church meet my needs?” is not the real question. As one who belongs to Jesus Christ I am called to ask, “How can I serve the needs of others?”
By calling His disciples to a life of servant hood Jesus was saying to all who bear his name that the unsuccessful, unlovely and unlovable who so often represent life’s interruptions are really life’s opportunities. When this awareness comes we move from ‘Me first’ to ‘You first’. And we do so because this is God’s way with us. So, St. Matthew tells us that the God’s life among us was the servant life, even unto death on the Cross.
To live these few, short years on earth in the Spirit of Jesus Christ is to reject the ethic of power, pride and indifference and to participate in the life of Him who came “…not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.”
“May the peace of god that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”