Blog » The Importance of Being a Servant
- 2012-09-14 05:00:00
I once met an executive who wanted to be used by God for a great purpose. He was a bit put out when the pastor suggested he begin by working anonymously in the kitchen of the homeless shelter preparing sandwiches on Saturdays. He felt he had far more potential than that—after all, he ran a large company and had leadership gifts.
Realizing it was bad form to say "no" to the pastor’s request, he began to prepare meals in the shelter. But an interesting thing happened to him as he served each week: The act of serving began to change him—to diminish the pride that had crept into his heart and to cultivate compassion and humility. He began to have a vision of the needs of homeless people.
Over time he invited friends and families to support the mission. He got his employees involved. Years later he was pivotal in developing a new facility that would better meet the needs of the homeless population.
But all of this started with a request that he perform a task that, at first glance, he felt was beneath him.
Why did Jesus choose Peter and John to prepare the Passover meal—the final meal he would have with his disciples? The request entailed mundane tasks of shopping, making a sacrifice in the Temple, cooking, and setting the table.
In their day this was the work of women or of servants. How did Peter and John feel to be doing this while Mary, Martha, and the other disciples remained with Jesus for the day?
There is an unnamed disciple in this story. He owned a house large enough to have a second-floor guest room that could accommodate at least thirteen for supper. He was a man of some means; nevertheless, he gladly played the part of a servant and freely gave of what he had, simply because Jesus asked.
His guest room was likely the place the disciples hid following the Crucifixion and was perhaps even the place the 120 gathered on the Day of Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out on the believers. If this is so, the man not only gave freely to the work of Jesus without every being named, but he did so at some personal cost.
Only in hindsight would Peter and John see the importance of the meal they prepared.
Lord, I offer myself to you. Use me to do whatever is needed, no matter how small. Like the unnamed disciple in the story, help me to serve without recognition. Amen.