May 25, 2012

Faith and Service

John 13:1-17

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
—John 13:14


When you are young, parents can do things that you do not understand. They tell you how life was different when they were children. They explain that they are punishing you “for your own good.” They tell you to be home on time and to “stay safe.” I noticed this trend when I was younger. My parents weren’t the only parents who were “guilty” of these actions; my friends had parents who did the same things.

After I became a parent, something strange happened. I found myself explaining how life was different when I was a child. I tried to convince my children that discipline would build their character. I even set curfews and repeatedly told them to “be safe.” After taking on the responsibilities that my parents had, I started to understand them a lot more.

After washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus told them that they should do likewise. It might seem obvious that service is beneficial. When we practice service, we build friendships, contribute to the well-being of others, and learn to see concerns beyond our own lives.

One of the blessings of service that we often overlook is that we grow in our understanding of God’s love. As we take on the tasks of serving others, as Christ did, we begin to understand the ways God has dealt with his people. We learn of his character as we imitate him by serving others.

Lord, move me to serve others so that they may be blessed through the work you have done in me, and so that I may grow closer to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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