A Sacrificial Heart
What inspires you from the word of God to sacrificially give and love others?
Verse: John 13 v 1-5
Jesus washes his disciples feet
During the final night before his crucifixion, ahead of the Feast of the Passover, Jesus took on the role of a common servant by wrapping a towel around his waist, filling a basin with water and kneeling to the dirty feet of his disciples and washing them (verses 1-5). It is important to recognise the cultural barriers that Jesus broke by doing this, for during this time a superior Rabbi would never wash the feet of those considered inferior to him.
So why did Jesus choose to humble himself to the role of a servant when he was and is the Son of God? Well, to be an example to us of God’s love and purpose for life, that’s why. In verse 14 and 15 we read “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” He says it himself! He has given us an example, a template for what we should do. Not for what we could do if we felt like it, but what is right to do in order to honour God’s purpose. We are followers of Jesus and the examples that he set, all share the same calling. To love one another. To serve. To serve with the same self-sacrificial love that Jesus did. Mark 10:45 reads “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve”. Again, he leads by example. I don't think we can ever comprehend the depth of love Christ has for us but we are encouraged to pursue this, see Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:17–19,
[May you be] rooted and grounded in love, [and thus] be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.
Now, you may be reading this thinking “yeah that’s great but what does this actually look like?” Well, the truth is, your job title isn’t really that relevant. Hear me out. In verse 34 and 35, Jesus commands us to “love one another: just as I have loved you” and that by doing this “all people will know that you are my disciples”. So through this act of sacrificial love, Jesus is quite simply saying that by loving one another, we are not only fulfilling God’s purpose for our life, but we are revealing his true nature to those around us. Therefore, whether you are a pastor preaching to hundreds of thousands of people each week, a teacher with countless degrees or a waitress clearing tables at a café, so long as you are loving those around you with the humble, selfless love that Jesus showed to his disciples, you are fulfilling God’s commandment and therefore honouring his purpose. How encouraging is it that unlike the world’s perspective, God’s love does not discriminate between job titles and résumés. It is because of this that we can find rest in the knowledge that the questions of whether we are doing the ‘right’ thing or giving time to the ‘right’ people, are answered with the question of whether we are doing these things by simply loving as Jesus loved. Therefore, do not be discouraged if the work that you do doesn’t seem significant by worldly measures. Jesus did the work of a servant to honour God’s purpose, demonstrating so beautifully that no work is beyond reach for God to bless and be glorified through.
May we be people who serve others as Jesus showed us how to. May we have the grace to remember the depth of your love for us and the cost you paid so that we can love others as you do. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to serve and feet to go where you lead us to go.
“What is God calling you to?” to love one another as Jesus loved you.
“Where am I supposed to go?” You can honour God wherever you are, simply accept his sacrifice first.
Finally, “Who am I being called to serve?” One another.