This past week has been our Mission Orientation programme at Tilsley College. It is always an encouraging and exciting week – though can be quite tiring for the students. One of the topics I will be talking about is the need to develop a servant heart in any form of Christian ministry; this is the second post where I share one or two thoughts from this.
Our second point is that Jesus showed humility; he took upon himself something which was ‘below’ him. In his case it was becoming human – and worse – dying. For us, it may be about what we are asked to do – or what we see needs doing and which can often seem ‘below’ us. We find ourselves doing tasks which may seem unworthy of us and lead to thought which I have had, such as, ‘Why am I hoovering the floor’ I’ve a degree in theology!!’
Paul reminds us that humility involves valuing others above ourselves (Philippians 2:3). That is a difficult thing for us to do. Jesus’ own example on the night of his betrayal is one that we will all be familiar with. Taking a bowl of water and a towel he performed the most menial of all tasks – the washing of the disciples’ feet. This was a job that contemporary Jews considered even below the dignity of a Jewish slave – it was limited to Gentile slaves. Yet it was this task that Jesus took upon himself. The disciples weren’t tripping over each other to do this! If we wish to truly develop a heart like that of our saviour’s, then seeing others as better than we are is fundamental, I think.
Part of how we do this is to follow Paul’s command later on where he says, look not only to your interests but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). It means placing ourselves in their shoes and considering their position, not just ours.
So developing a servant heart means the willingness to take on tasks we might not want to do and to do them joyfully. It means placing the interests of others above our own. Basically, to do all those things which go against the grain, against all that we want or feel we deserve. And very much against what our society continually bombards us with. Our motto has to be ‘because others are worth it’ not ‘because I’m worth it’