Learning something new can be intimidating. Yet if we have confidence in our teacher, fear can give way to excitement as we anticipate growth and even mastery over the new skill or concept. What if we were given access to the plan for living a full and abundant life? What if we could be taught by the best teacher ever and he not only spoke but actually modeled step-by-step for his students so that they too could do what he does? Would you want to learn, to grow, to really experience in your time and space abundant living? Jesus offers to teach us how to serve. Will we accept His offer? Throughout the ages individuals have said “yes”, and individual lives as well as communities have been changed for good and for God. The time is now, the space is wherever you are. The Teacher is willing.
First we need to know what we are supposed to do, and then we need to do what we are supposed to do. Then the outcome will be blessing. “I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.” Jesus taught this lesson to his disciples by giving them an example. During what would become known as the Last Supper, He knelt before each of His students and washed their feet. Jesus taught how to serve by serving. He taught love by loving. When He forgave, He demonstrated forgiveness, and He asks us to forgive others too. People will know we are His disciples if we love and serve one another. Knowing this truth is one thing; doing it is a whole other thing. But the blessing does not come in the knowing, or even in memorizing the chapter and verse, but in the doing, the serving.
Jesus is our Master and the message He gives us is His plan for abundant life: appropriately love God and people; repeat. Our guidebook, God’s Word, will keep us on the right path and when we do get off track, Jesus says to confess it and get back to a healthy relationship with Him and with people. Several years into cross-culturally serving, my husband and I were at a marriage retreat just after we celebrated our fifteenth year of marriage. We gathered together with other couples, some we knew, others we did not, and a ministry team from Chic-fil-A, the WinShape Foundation, met us at the resort setting in a Chinese city. In married life, sometimes we are gloriously on track and other times miserably off course. The humbling act of receiving a foot washing by my husband as part of the retreat was a very healthy re-set. May we not only remember the ways in which Jesus taught, but carry on the actions of His message. That is how a student honors his teacher. And Jesus is the best teacher I know.
Questions for group discussion:
- Washing feet involves more than water and a cloth. What attitudes may need to change for your present acts of service to really bring joy to you, to those you serve, and to God?
- What has God recently shown you that will take more training on your part? What is the next step you can take? Do you have an end-goal in mind?
- Good students can then teach others. Who are you now teaching? How are you preparing to extend what you are learning so that others too may have the blessing of serving well?
A modified excerpt from The Blessing Book.
Karla Minick, author of The Blessing Book and The Blessing Book Study Guide believes that we are blessed by God to joyfully be a blessing. Having served in a number of countries around the world, she now lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Russell.