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“Learn the lesson that if you have to do the work of a prophet, you don't need a scepter, but a hoe.” - Bernardo de Claraval

Just as the cross is the symbol of submission, the towel is the symbol of service.

And a dispute arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. Luke 9:46

Whenever there is concern about who is the greatest, there will be concern about who is the least.

Gathered for the Passover celebration, the disciples were aware that someone would need to wash others' feet. The problem is that the person who washes the feet is smaller. So they sat down, their feet covered in dust. It was such an embarrassing subject that it wasn't even mentioned. Nobody wanted to be considered the smallest. So Jesus took a towel and a basin and redefined greatness. John 13:14-15

Service helps discipline our inordinate desires of the flesh and nothing like serving out of the spotlight to transform the desires of our flesh. But our flesh cries out for service to happen to be enjoyed and to draw attention in a meaningful way.

With that, every time we crucify the flesh, we also crucify pride and arrogance.

We have to know how to differentiate what it is to perform a service, and what it is to be a servant.

When we perform a service we expect payment, when we are servants we do it for the love that is in us, we do not expect payment or recognition.

When we choose to be servants, we give up the right to be in charge and make ourselves available and vulnerable.

“Service” is a way of life that is born within our heart and has a complete relationship with the other.

“Excellent service blesses people and honors the heavens”

Therefore, service, in order to be service, needs to assume shapes and contours in the world in which we live. Here are some aspects that should be considered:

1) Service to stay out of the spotlight - If all the services provided are performed in front of people, we can become superficial people.

2) Service of the little things. Like Dorcas, we discovered ways to make “coats and other garments” (Acts 9:39, BV). This service makes us useful in a Christian community.

3) Service of protecting the reputation of others. The apostle Paul teaches, “Do not slander anyone” (Titus 3:2). We can clothe slander with all respectability. The discipline of curbing the tongue works wonders within us.

4) Service of being served. When Jesus began to wash the feet of those he loved, Peter refused. He could not allow his Master to bend down to render him such a humiliating service. While it sounds like a declaration of humility, it was actually an act of underhanded pride. Allowing someone to serve us is an act of submission and service. It is the recognition of the “Kingdom authority” exercised over us.

5) Service of common kindness. It is one of the few surviving means in modern society for one person to recognize the value of another. We are to be “kind and always [show] true meekness toward all men” (Titus 3:2).

6) Hospitality service. This is Peter's insistent recommendation to us: “Be hospitable to one another without complaint” (1 Peter 4:9). Paul makes the same appeal and even makes this service a prerequisite for the office of a bishop (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8) There is a desperate need today for Christians to welcome one another others in their homes.

7) Service of Listening. Bonhoeffer says that “the first service owed to others in communion is to listen to them. Just as love for God begins when we hear his words, the beginning of love for brothers is learning to listen to them.


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