In our Bible class the teacher focused on emulating Jesus as a servant and he made some points I had not considered in just that way. But I remembered a point that I had made months earlier in a Wednesday night devotional, that when we sing the servant song we are writing the Lord a blank check whose cost may exceed anything we imagined, “Lord make me a servant, …Do what you must do.” Suddenly there was a short in the synapses and I had a thought, “Did anyone perceive Jesus as a servant?”
He washed the disciples’ feet and we wonder that any could miss the message of his servanthood. But those sane disciples were still arguing about rank in his militarily triumphant kingdom and continued to do so after the resurrection, “Lord will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6).
The Pharisees certainly did not think he was a servant. He was constantly at war with them in the most scathing denunciations that began almost with his baptism and culminated in Matthew 23. To them, Jesus was an opponent, a false teacher, not a servant.
The rulers did not view him as a servant for they were afraid that he would either take their power or cause so much unrest that the Romans would take it. So, they thought of him as an insurrectionist. This attitude continues through Gamaliel’s speech in Acts 5.
To the people he was a puzzle. He spoke in parables they did not comprehend; he healed the sick and worked miracles but would not lead them against the Romans. They often tried to kill him. Servant? Not in their view!
So being a servant like Jesus means that we must serve others in ways that often upsets them. Our service does not appear to be service to them. They may resent it. They often will misunderstand it. Not seldom they will oppose it and vilify it. But that is the price of being a servant like Jesus, for in like manner did they persecute our Lord, the greatest servant.
We avoid this kind of service by performing deeds of kindness with a smile. We make sure we never upset anyone under any circumstances and we are always “there” to listen and to lend a helping hand. Certainly, this is service, but it is the easiest service. Maybe in comparison with that of the “suffering servant,” it is the lesser kind of service. His kind of service is the one we resist giving the most.
Is “kindness service only” the way we put a cap on the amount we will let the Lord write on our blank check?
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell, Matt 10:24-28.