Guest Post by Kimi Harris
Servanthood is not very admired in our culture. From early on in childhood, we hear phrases like "Follow your heart", "You can be whatever you want to be", "Find yourself", and "Pamper yourself--you deserve it." If we follow the world's advice, we are seeking temporal self-glorification by fulfilling our heart's evil desires. We will serve self, not others.
But Christ had a radically different message. He called us to something quite the opposite. Christ calls us to follow Him.
Christ's life would not be valued or esteemed if measured by our culture's standards today. He would not be a 'hero' in our eyes. In fact, He was often reviled by the world's most successful people when He was here. Why? Because the focus of the world then was not much different than it is now. The world at that time expected a leader who would serve himself and promote himself as king.
This attitude of self-promotion and self-service was even seen in the behavior of Jesus' disciples. Matthew was a tax collector, having an occupation infamous for cheating. James and John debated which of them would sit in the highest place in Heaven. Above the rest of the disciples, Judas demonstrated the cruelest selfishness in his betrayal of Christ. The disciples were clearly not always dedicated to servanthood. The self-serving way of life held by Jesus' contemporaries stood condemned by His perfect life of servanthood.
"Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, 'You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wished to be first among you shall be slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.'"
Christ then went on to show us what He meant by His words. He knelt down —taking the lowest job of a servant or slave— and washed His disciples' feet. This was the demonstration of an amazingly radical attitude. Not only did the Son of God "take on the form of a servant" (i.e. a human form) and come to earth, but He did not demand His rights. Instead knelt to wash the filthy feet of His arguing, prideful, sinful disciples! And He did not even stop there! He was beaten, crushed, wounded, and killed for us! This is the way of a servant. As Christ said, "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." By His blood and by His Resurrection, we have the great privilege and honor of following in His footsteps--and they are the footsteps of a servant.
But it is a battle. Let us not naively think that the world's view on life has not affected us. I know that it has greatly affected me. As the world will urge us to promote self, we are called to serve God by serving others. As the world will try to encourage us to value beauty and popularity, a mind set on heavenly principles will value servanthood. As the world fights to be on top, we are to fight to serve others. This is not a principle to be simply talked about, but it is a principle to be lived out. It is a principle that will get our hands dirty.
Kimi Harris lives with her husband, Joel, in Oregon. She maintains a wonderful blog-- http://kimiharris-nonconformist.blogspot.com