Not to be served but to serve
Jesus said, “It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20: 26-28
What makes one great in today’s context? The number of viewers to a post in social media? The number of likes for a video on Facebook? The number of followers on Twitter or Instagram? Jesus had no clue about the present day social media but he had a great insight about service to neighbors. For Jesus, greatness is not to be served by others but serving others with love. A friend of mine used to work as a waiter in a restaurant. She told me the reason for that is when she was a child, she enjoyed going to a restaurant for dinners with her mom, dad and siblings. It was a joyous time for her. During her college, she waited on the tables as a waiter to serve families and see their smiles. Jesus said, “whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Jesus set himself as an example to teach his disciples to serve not to be served. He helped them serve people food when people were hungry, he washed their feet, and he was on watch when they were resting.
Once a young person came to Jesus. He was a rich man. He asked Jesus “What must I do to inherit the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus reminded him of the law to love God and love neighbors. The young person replied, I have been doing this since my childhood. “Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. (Mark 10:21-22). As we continue reflecting on Power, Privilege, and Presence, may we see power in empowering others, may we give up privilege to make others privileged and may we be always present to serve those in need.
Gracious God, may we relinquish what we hold dear in our lives, in our hearts, and in our hands; and open our lives, our hearts, and our hands to serve one another. Amen.
- Moses Paul Penumaka, Th.D.
Director, Theological Education for Emerging Ministries [TEEM]