To Serve or Be Served


For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the One who serves. Luke 22:27

There are times when being "the good guy" is above and beyond the call of duty.

That's what the paralytic man could have said to himself when he saw the struggling, drowning woman from the third floor window of his room. He could have said that, but instead he grabbed his walking sticks, hobbled down the stairs, got on his motorized bicycle, and rode a quarter of a mile to where he could enter the water.

Slipping and nearly falling on the muddy bottom, he waded out. He almost lost one of his sticks. When the water reached his waist and he could go no farther, he tried talking to the young woman ten yards farther out.

"I can't go on living!" She cried. "Leave me alone. I want to die."

He said, quietly, "Look at me, I'm a cripple. (His words, not mine.) I walk with two sticks. I don't kill myself. Look at me."

For a long minute she stared at him, then slowly waded back.

There are times when being "the good guy" is above and beyond the call of duty.

That's what Jesus could have said when He felt rejection from those He had come to save. His hometown wanted no part of Him. His disciples misunderstood Him, and His own church plotted His murder. Anyone can easily understand why Jesus might have washed His hands of the work the Father had given Him.

Why should He endure hatred, persecution, laughter, abuse?

But Jesus didn't wash His hands of us. He had been born into this world to be the heaven-sent sacrifice for sinners, and He was determined to do everything necessary to save you and me. He had been born in a stable to show He had come for the lowly among us.

From that time until Resurrection Sunday He accepted every dirty job, every thankless task He had been given. He drew no lines. There was nothing too terrible for Him to endure, which leads me to ask, what are the lines at your church beyond which believers won't go?

How many jobs and opportunities are begging because someone, usually a whole lot of someones, have convinced themselves they won't or can't do the work God has placed before us. In late summer listen to the pastor's pleas for Sunday school teachers; in the early summer he begs for VBS instructors. Heaven help the nominations committee, which must find two eligible and willing candidates for every office.

But maybe that doesn't describe you or your church. Then let me ask, how do they sing? Do they blow the roof off every Sunday with their praises to the Lord, or do they whisper their songs lest someone look at them disapprovingly?

I don't have an answer to the question, and you need not answer me. But Jesus still wonders. Do we take Him seriously when He says, "Are we here as ones who serve or to be served?"

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, forgive me for thinking I am too good to emulate You. Forgive me for trying to be master of my fate, rather than servant of Your will. Bless me with Your Holy Spirit, so I may be a better servant to You and those around me. This I ask in Your Holy Name. Amen.

Pastor Ken Klaus

Lutheran Hour Ministries All rights reserved; not to be duplicated without permission.

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