The late Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s hamburger chain was known for his humble service within the multi-billion dollar empire he founded. When asked what made him so successful; he replied, “my MBA.” But he didn’t mean a graduate degree in business education, he meant “a mop- and-bucket attitude.” In other words, no work task was too insignificant for him to tackle; he simply jumped in and got the job done.
Dave Thomas, was a high-school dropout, he was always ashamed of that and it would have been easy for him as he tasted success to demand every perk and privilege as a way of covering for his own inadequacies, but instead He lived by the creed of the Mop Bucket Attitude. We too can learn from Dave and especially from Jesus in how to serve others.
HOW TO BE LIKE JESUS
- Get up from my comfort zone
So he got up from the table… (vs. 4a)
Jesus was sitting comfortably at the table, but He left his Comfort Zone. He made his body do something it may have not wanted to do. The same is true for us. Often we are comfortable in life and we don’t think we should disturb our comfort to come to the earlier service and help with the children. Often we wrongly think, “well when I feel like serving I will.” Let me tell you something you may never feel like, but it needs to be done. Some of you need to get out of bed and get here to serve. Some of ys need to get out of our lazy boys and pitch in. Get out of your comfort zone. This is what Jesus did.
- Lay something in my life aside.
…took off his robe, (vs. 4b)
To serve other we usually have to lay something aside. Most of us live with a full plate of activity. If I’m going to add a service for the Jesus and His kingdom, I usually have to subtract something I am doing for myself.
Some of us may have to lay aside some of our pride. Sadly the church is full of people who are standing on their dignity when they ought to be kneeling at the feet of their brothers and sisters. One who is proud and self-centered has no capacity for love or service. They think that any service they may provide for the Lord is a waste of their time! When you are tempted to think of your dignity, your prestige or your rights open your bible to John 13 and see Jesus clothed like a slave washing dirt off of feet. Jesus knew he was the king of the universe but his heart was not filled with pride or self-importance! Perhaps it was because he knew who he was because he was SECURE in own IDENITY that he could bow to the lowest point of service. It is not great men who will not serve others. It is insecure men who think that washing feet defines them as something less than others. That person will not serve in lowly tasks because he sees it as a challenge to his identity.
- Get the tools I need for the job
…wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. (vs. 4c-5a)
Jesus made preparations to meet the need. Sometimes there are preparations we need to make. It great when children’s teachers start reading about teaching children and collecting craft material, when small group leaders study their lesson or read about leading a group. Those in the band practice their instruments. We offer leadership training here and through our association of churches we have a classes, training and support to leaders. There are so many ways you can get prepared and learn what you need to learn to help you do the job Jesus is leading you to do. For many service areas the leader of a team will provide you with what you need, you may just need to show up, watch or follow the instructions.
- Begin to do what needs to be done
Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him. (vs. 5b)
I like that. At some point we have to begin. We can think about it. We can pray about it. We can prepare for it. But at some point we must start doing it. We started this church in the fall of 2000, by spring 2002 we had purchased this land by 2003 we had started this building and by Feb. 2004 we were here. We were only four years old. We get calls from other churches about how we did this, we have given many tours, we have had denominational leaders come visit us, I share the information with pastor after pastor, leader after leader, I did an interview for a guy who included us in a PHD dissertation. The most frequently asked question goes something like this “How did you build your building. We’ve been planning and saving for years and still haven’t been able to build. What is the secret?” I say, “The secret is simple, you have to begin. Start building.” At some point you have to start doing it. Some of you say, one of these days I am going to help out, one of these days I am going to get involved. One of these days will never come. Just do it!
- Don’t protest or resist Jesus’ instructions
“No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “But if I don’t wash you, you won’t belong to me.” (vs. 8)
Poor Peter thought he had a better idea than Jesus. Jesus wants to wash his feet—Peter doesn’t want him to do it. Then he wants a full bath. It took Peter awhile to learn that none of us have a better idea than Jesus. We are the same way, we protest thinking our schedule is too full, we say “well I’ve done my time” or Jesus you don’t understand today’s fast paced lifestyle, I have too much to do to help out at church. The best thing we can possibly do is to simply hear him and obey him.
Peter eventually learned to simply obey the Lord rather than offer better idea. That’s something we all have to learn.
- Remember Jesus’ example
And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. (vs. 14-15)
What does it mean to wash the feet of others? It means you humble yourselves—you get down where the need is –and you do something about it. We have so many wonderful examples of that in this church. There is the cleaning crew who make the floors and toilets shine, I heard a comment just this week about how clean the restrooms are! That’s service that makes it that way. People comment on how nice the yard looks, service! How much fun their kids had, service! How great the music sounded, service! In our culture the need is not to wash feet as it was in Bible times. But there are many, many practical needs all around us. Feet washers see those needs and do something about it.
Is it easy? No its difficult at times. Let me give you a secret. When I am tempted to complain or get tired I remember Jesus and what he did.
- Remember Jesus will bless me
Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. (vs. 17)
It’s a whole lot easier to talk about service, think about service, fanaticize about great service, hear sermons about service than to actually do service for others.
But the blessing, the joy, the happiness, is not found in talking about it or hearing about it. It is found in actually doing it.
Think of it like this: imagine that the value of your life, your salvation your gifts, talents and abilities was equal to a $1 million dollar bills, and it’s yours! Few of us will ever be required to lay down that $1 million dollars in a single moment and then enter into the glory of heaven. Rather we have to give our lives away only $1 or $2 at a time through small acts of service; maybe we might have to lay down $100 all at once, for a special occasion but that’s no big deal when you think about $1 million dollars.
If I convince myself that the cost is too great; the enemy will magnify the little that we are asked to give to others making it seem like a great loss. We lose sight of all that God has given to us. Now here’s the truth.
Everything we willingly lay down to serve someone else, God adds it to our account in heaven. Jesus said, “Deposit your treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20 paraphrase). If we don’t serve then you will find very little of your life has been saved for you in heaven. Jesus made it plain: “Give your life away for me and I’ll keep it safe for you in heaven” (Matthew 16:25 paraphrase). Did you know God pays interest? Jesus said 100 times would be returned to him who gives up for the gospel. (Mark 10:30) One hundred times is 10,000% interest. Wouldn’t you like to have that kind of interest on your CD’s money market accounts, mutual funds or stocks?
God is recording anything and everything that you give in service. Every time you give something is recorded in heaven. Jesus said, even “a cup of cold water given in his name is written down.” (Matt. 10:42)
Give your life in service “one piece at a time,” “moment by moment.” A servant’s heart is willing to share the pieces of their life with other, because they know that their life is not their own.
When you become a willing servant who freely gives his life to the Master, you will discover that Jesus will add to your life with interest– that’s His promise.
Jesus tells us in John 13:17 that when we follow His example living out our lives with a servant’s heart we will receive a blessing. You can never out give God. When you start laying down your life $1 or $2 at a time you will soon discover that He has added interest to your life and the value has increased. You have the blessing of God’s hand upon your life. This isn’t like the “hand of Midas” turning everything you touch into gold it’s better. With God’s hand upon your life everything you touch as a servant takes on eternal value and the temporal becomes eternal.
It really doesn’t get any better than that! When you are willing to surrender your all to God, He takes what many would think of as a sacrifice and holds it safely in heaven for you. That which you think you have lost becomes gain!
I hope and pray that we may all learn to serve like Jesus.