This Sunday we are thinking about service. Jesus identified himself as a servant who came for that very reason, to serve. This is our example.
But if serving others isn’t real appealing to us, imagine what it was like in Jesus’ day. Most servants didn’t have a choice. Slavery was legal. Some servants were indentured. That’s how they paid off debts. Ones who chose to be servants as an occupation really didn’t make that choice. They had no education and no opportunities to do otherwise. So why would Jesus choose such an unappealing image for us to live by?
At first glance Paul didn’t see to help matters when he wrote the verse above. Following God’s example and walking in the way of love sounds pleasant enough, but then he says our pattern for living this way is Jesus who gave himself up…as a sacrifice! I suppose compared to sacrificing our lives serving doesn’t seem so bad.
The image Paul references, however, is the sacrifice a person would make at the altar. It is an offering that is a fragrant gift to God. In other words, we aren’t really thinking of sacrificing our lives but letting them be gifts to others. I find this helpful because most of the time when we focus on the sacrifices we make for others there is a negative quality to it. We slave cleaning a house or cooking for others. We kill ourselves doing things for others. But making our lives gifts? That is different.
Christ gave himself for us. What does it mean to give ourselves to others? How can you be a gift to someone today? What can you give them that would be a service? This is the example Jesus says we should follow.
Sunday we will consider some answers to these questions and offer ways we can give ourselves.
See you there,