Today we finish the introductory series Never Walk Alone by asking how then do we go about LOVE. As a way of review, this month we have been looking at the things that hinder us from giving, receiving or experiencing LOVE.
In the first Sunday, We said LOVE only comes from God, and for us to LOVE GOD with all our hearts, minds, strengths and souls and love our neighbor as we love ourselves we must Learn LOVE from God who is LOVE. We also said that God’s greatest object of LOVE is people and seeing people the way God sees them frees us to love them. Every person bears God’s approval of Sanctity because He created us in his image.
In the second Sunday, we said that everyone needs Grace: We learnt through the mothers that no one is perfect, people come in all varieties of personalities, profiles and that LOVE transcends titles and labels and loves people as people. We need patience and grace with each other instead of judgmental, critical and selfish biases when dealing with people.
In the third Sunday, We talked about the danger of going alone. We said that many people are hiding in their caves of shame because we are afraid to get vulnerable and seek help. When we become vulnerable and open to each other, we allow healing in our relationships
Last week: we talked about LOVE and LOSS. We learnt that Loss can make us lose our faith, lose our souls and lose our peace, but LOVE then is the bridge. In times of Loss and difficulty, practical love is the bridge that will rebuild our lost faith, reconnect our souls and restore our peace. For the full scripts, go to our FB page. We challenged all of us to take the Soul Group Challenge as an outcome, so that you will never have to walk alone.
Today I conclude this Series, which was a preparation of the 40 days of LOVE series that starts in June all through to August by looking at; The way of LOVE is to Serve. We said that LOVE is what happens after the LOVE song is over.
The name servant is not an appealing name one in our society today. If someone calls you a servant, the connotations are that you are among the lowest and insignificant. Even those who use the name servant leaders do not necessarily show actions or behaviors of a servant. Yet, this is the way of Christ, if you want to be great you must learn to be a servant of all.
Today my thesis to you that Serving one another is the way of Practical LOVE.
So who is willing to take the serving challenge- Administer Servant test
Read John 13:1-17
It was just before the Passover and Jesus knew his time had come. He was about to face a horrible and painful journey of the Cross. Going by his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, this was not an easy undertaking. 26 feet folded on the table ready for an evening meal, the discussions around the table may have felt insensitive to his situation. I imagine they talked about the great things they had done, miracles they had seen and the Names and sense of drama they had witnessed while walking with Jesus.
You would expect Jesus to draw attention to him-self at this hour of need, You would expect that he would affirm the praise reports and discussions, You would expect him to seek comfort and care from his disciples but instead he chose to show them the full extent of his Love He served them.
It was Jewish tradition as part of hospitality to have a slave servant, to wash the feet of visitors. Considering the middle east sandy land and the fashion of gladiator sandals they put on, people would naturally gather dust.
He chose to Serve them as He looked at their faces, he saw the various personalities in each of them, He saw Judas his betrayer, he saw Peter the one who would deny him, He saw the disciples who would later disown him at his toughest hour and yet He chose to Serve.
Serving others is not for the faint hearted, Servants are the strongest personalities we have in society. Think of your nurses, house helps who clean up after us, who do not ask questions, who hold back their feelings and tongue when we scold them, who eat last and what’s left without complaint, who wakes up and prepares for everyone and sleeps last and still smiles with you. Yet this is what Jesus chose to do.
Yet serving is the most practical way of LOVE. When we serve one another, we go beyond ourselves, we put the other first, we consider others better than ourselves, we do exactly what Jesus did. This is Love that He gave himself for us we who are unworthy.
How do we Serve as Jesus did, Loved
We can only serve when we are Secure in ourselves: Jesus knew who he was, where he was going and where He came from. He had nothing to lose, his Name as the king of kings, Lord of Lords would not change because he served. Only those who are secure can serve, insecure people expect to be served. It’s very difficult to love an insecure person, they are demanding, unappreciative. We cannot relate in love if we are insecure about ourselves. We draw our security not from titles or social standing- Do you know me (question)- Our security must be in God, I know I belong to God, I am going to God, all that I am and Have are his, my identity is assured, for this reason I can serve. Which is also why loving others is a true revelation of our faith in God
We can only serve when we Love the subjects: This is what separates duty and Serving. If our relationships operate as duty, we have miserable relationships. If we cook for the family as duty, if we work because of duty, if we make love because of duty we still miss the point. Jesus showed them the full extent of his love, not because he had to but because He wanted and was willing to. This is not always easy in relationships. I don’t always feel like, but I choose to. If your response is always ‘I have to’ it needs to change to ‘I chose to’
Serving takes initiative: While everyone sat and chatted, the water and the pail was there. They knew there was someone who was to do this job, the slave girl should be doing this. Instead they see their master rising and washing them. It must have felt embarrassing and I imagine this was why Peter tried to refuse this service. Somehow relationships are stiff because we are always waiting for the other person. He is the one to start the conversation, She is the one to come and ask, if he will not then I will not… There is a lot of strife in our relationships because no one is willing to take the first step, lest they are seen to be weak. This is contrary to the self pride, we have- who always is first to ask for forgiveness, then he will be first to find healing.
Serving takes Sacrifice- As I have already mentioned, this was the most difficult time for Jesus to serve, Knowing he is about to face death. Seeing the faces of his betrayers and those who would disown him it was not easy. Serving others takes great sacrifice. When was the last time you went outside your convenience, outside your comfort, risked something, stayed a little longer than usual to do something for that person. My story of dating- I walked the night. Some of the bravest people are those who are just falling in love, then somehow we loose that brevity. Where are the days of I will die for you, I will cross the ocean for you, I will go and bring you the moon.
Servants receive from others: When Jesus got to Peter, we see this disciple struggling to receive this service. Peter always wanted to be exceptional or standing out. He was battling with self humility and falsely pretended to be different from the others. Yet when Jesus said if I don’t wash you, you have no part with me, now he wanted to be washed the whole body. Servants do not only see themselves as the ones giving, but also allow others to give them. As much as I pour out, I must be humble to sit before someone to pour into me. False humility keeps us from being served. When you reject my gift and appreciation, you may think you are saving me the trouble, but the truth is you are discrediting my sacrifice. I took my wife to a Chinese restaurant once.
Servants teach by example: After He finished he sat down and told them you call me teacher and Lord and rightly so because that is who I am, as I have done to you, you should do to others. This then is the best model to teach by example. I make it easy for you to love me, because I make it my effort to love you. Servants love to serve other servants. Have you ever seen house-helps sharing a meal, they share and eat in laughter and happiness because they identify with each other. We mould people, not by instructing and lecturing them, but by demonstrating what we want to mould them to.
You will be blessed if you do this, If you serve one another. Imagine the difference in your relationships, In your marriage, in your work place.
So then this is LOVE, that Christ died for us while we were sinners. It is impossible to Serve or LOVE as Jesus did if we do not know or have his LIFE in ours. The Experience of True LOVE can only be found in Christ. When Christ becomes your LIFE, the you begin to experience his power to LOVE as He did. So begin by accepting His LOVE for you and give him your LIFE. Are you there
For the Christians, it’s not any different, your dependence on Christ is your power to LOVE. So today as we take the Lord’s table, we celebrate this great servant, who taught us and enabled us by His LIFE to serve others.
We will do so differently, we will serve one another. Turn to that person and serve them this meal as Jesus would. Come in groups of 4 pick elements go and sit and pray for each other and then share the meal.