A Slave is not Greater than His Master: Thoughts about Servant-hood

When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, "Do you know what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you. I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them." John 13: 12 - 17
Christ Washing the Feet of the Disciples | Paolo Verones
When Jesus washed the disciples' feet, He was not performing any impossible task. Indeed, the only impossiblity lies in the fact that God, in fleshly form, was debasing Himself to a distasteful and mundane chore. In this fact we find the true beauty of servant-hood...that the servant is rarely called to do something that no-one else can do, but rather, that the servant joyfully seeks and completes the tasks that no-one else will do.

We would be honored to wash the feet or the garments, to cook or to run errands for Jesus! No occupation would be too small or too arduous when performed in His service. Why, then, do we so often overlook the opportunities to perform these same acts of service for others? Jesus, Himself, said, 'I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me. (Matthew 25:40)

The followers of Christ are to be known by their 'love for one another' (John 13:35). If each of us is truly dedicated to loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbors as ourselves, we will rejoice to show our love through tangible actions, regardless how small or menial those tasks and actions may be. Perhaps it is by our small and 'insignificant' acts of servant-hood that we show the greatest love and become most effectively united with He 'who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage,' and, instead, 'emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of man.' (Phillipians 2:6-7)

Each new day is a fresh opportunity to serve the Lord through caring for His people; to bring the presence, the Spirit, and the joy of the Lord to every simple chore. How wonderful a place this world could be if each of us went about looking for opportunities to do the most tedious, mundane tasks 'as to the Lord and not to men' (Ephesians 6:7)!

It is in our quiet, humble service that we are united with Christ the servant, and may effectively echo His words; 'I have washed your feet...do just as I have done for you.'


  1. A beautiful insight. Thank you for the reminder. Mom

    1. Thanks for your thoughts. Love you!


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