“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:26)”
I do my best to write from the perspective of real life. Authenticity and transparency seem to be the most logical way for me to present Jesus to the world. I think the Church would do a whole lot better in a dark world if it presented Jesus as a real person, not just a lofty ideal.
This past weekend, my church had a “water day” for the youth. For those of you that are reading this that have never visited Mississippi in July, let me explain the real meaning of the word “hot.” Many see 95-degree temps in the summer. What other parts of the country don’t have, is that great southern humidity. Think of the thickest blanket that you have. Then imagine it is soaked with hot water, and tied around you. That’s our version of summer. Everything in the South revolves around getting to the pool, lake, beach, etc., during the summer for relief.
So the adults get there and get everything set up. Hot dogs are burning on the grill, sunscreen abounds, and the squeals of children can be heard all over. There were roughly 50 kids there Sunday, but this blog focuses on one who is my buddy. I wrote a previous article about his little brother. Both are growing into fine Christian men.
Grant is 12. On a day like this, he wanted to be running with his buddies, throwing Frisbees, and seeing how many of those hot dogs he could polish off. There were lines on every slide. During one of the times when I wasn’t working a slide, I caught a glimpse of true servanthood. There is a little guy who I will call B. B was trying his best to get up one of the slides, but just couldn’t make it. He needed a little help, as we all do from time to time. Now, I’m about 6’4” and about 260 on a good day. Agility is not exactly my strong suit. After watching B fall down repeatedly, I decided I was going to intervene. I shimmied up about half the slide with him in tow. Right about the time I was going to put him at the top, I lost my footing, and B and I slide down together. Realizing that I am too old and fat to accomplish my task, I looked around for someone who could help. I didn’t have to ask. I looked at Grant, and he said, “I can get him up there.”
Grant didn’t think about himself, or the fun that he could be having. He didn’t look the other way. He took it upon himself to help someone in need. Mark 9:35 tells me what Jesus thought about servanthood. It’s not ambiguous. There are no interpretations. “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all, and servant of all.” What does that mean? It doesn’t mean to be a doormat, it doesn’t mean sacrificing the Gospel to gain earthly favoritism. “Anything goes” is a social construct based in secular humanism, not the Gospel. It means putting yourself in the mindset of being Christ focused. Approaching each situation with the mind of Christ. Sacrificing yourself for someone else. American culture is saturated by the mindset of “Get all you can, however you can.” Christ says sacrifice yourself so that you can gain Me.
Christian servanthood has as much to do with humbling yourself, as it does helping someone else. Too often, we skip over Gethsemane to get to Calvary. Gethsemane is just as important. Jesus asked if the bitter cup of suffering could be passed from Him, but then said, “Not My will, but thine.” God cares little for our abilities. To God, we are dust, a breath, nothing in the light of eternity. Yet, He loves us. What God wants far more than your abilities, is your obedience. This world in all its foolishness will tell you that you don’t need anyone. You are more than enough. You are in charge of everything that happens to you. Christ says “…apart from Me, you can do nothing (John 15:5).” The same folks that will preach the “there is no God” message, will also be the first to ask at times of great disaster, “Where was God?”
Great challenges await us all. They are a fact, not a possibility. Be it death, sickness, or natural disasters, something unexpected will likely happen to us all at some point in this life. The difference for the Christian is that we know, no matter the situation, that there is someone greater than us, who can see the end. I often see people I know who are not Christians go through great trials. I have no idea personally how one can go through such a situation without a deep faith in Christ.
When faced with great trial, I have a Savior who says things like:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)”
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 14:27)”
The Servant I follow also makes me a promise. No matter how hard the world is. No matter what happens, He remembers me. “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3)”
If your Savior doesn’t say that, can he or she really be worth following? Mine is.