A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And He (Jesus) said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. ... I am among you as the One who serves." (Luke 22:24-26, 27b)
In the earliest days of our refugee church, we had a problem with trash. Our members believed that picking up trash was a lowly, servant-like thing to do—and people who have lost everything will sometimes cling to their social status because it's all that they have left. So no one was willing to humble themselves enough to put trash away in public.
At one church potluck, my husband and I decided "Enough is enough," and we grabbed a wheeled trash barrel. He began rolling it around the tables while I collected used napkins and plates and threw them in. The people were shocked. "Pastor, you shouldn't be doing this!" they said. It gave my husband the chance to explain to them what Jesus considers greatness. We never had a problem like that in the church again.
This is one of the many kinds of freedom Jesus won for us—the freedom to serve without worrying one little bit what other people will think of us. It simply doesn't matter. The real question is this: what will Jesus think of us? As long as that point is covered, we no longer mind being caught washing dishes or cleaning toilets or (as on one memorable occasion!) standing down in the sewer with a shovel, mud to the ears. We are free to do whatever needs doing—because our status in Jesus is set forever.
And what is that status? Child of God, born of the Spirit, beloved of Jesus Christ, citizen of the kingdom of heaven. Nothing can take away from us what Jesus suffered and died to win for us. This status is ours forever. Better yet, Jesus Himself is ours forever.
THE PRAYER: Dear Savior, help me to serve with the utter freedom You served, knowing who I belong to. Amen.
* What is the most humble chore you've ever had to do?
* Are you ever embarrassed to be caught doing a particular job? If so, what and why?
* What was embarrassing about the "job" Jesus did for us—and how does it show the depth of His love to you?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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