The intro to an upcoming area seminar reads, “Does God serve us or do we serve God?” My traditional answer is, “Of course, we serve God.” However, in recent months Jesus has been challenging my perspective on this. He has me hedged into John 13 where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. I can’t escape the possibility that maybe the answer to that question is “yes.” Yes, God serves us; and yes, we serve God.
Let Me Get the Door
Many months ago, the Lord commissioned me to let Him “get the door.” First, my natural abilities were confused. I thought, “I am a big girl. I can get the door. I have years of experience getting doors–heavy doors, awkward doors, car doors, garage doors, with both hands, one hand, with only my pinky, and sometimes I can pull out the skills with a knee-elbow combination while balancing bags of groceries.” Amazing, I know.
There was no sense of condemnation for having these natural abilities—they are God-given after all. And yet every time I was approaching a door, someone coming from behind was offering to get it for me. God, fully aware of my slow learning, understood it took me a little while to learn to stop at the invitation and wait for another to do for me what I was perfectly able to do for myself.
One day in particular, I was approaching an office door when my pastor came near and offered this relentless invitation: “Let me get the door for you.” I graciously responded, “That’s ok, I can get the door.” “I know you can, but I want to get it for you,” he said. It stunned me for a moment. He was motivated by a desire not an obligation. Through this simple act of kindness, Jesus began to speak volumes.
“If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” John 13:8
Is it fair to say that if we do not let Him serve us, we will have no part with Him?
Peter was clearly offended and did not see the offering of grace before him. To stick his filthy feet into the hands of the Son of God was simply out-of-order. To have your Savior wash your feet when you are perfectly able to do so for yourself (and probably should have before you sat to eat with Him) is undeserving. Peter was put in a position to receive what he did not deserve, and he was offended. What is unlocked in our hearts and minds when God serves us? Yes, the humility of Jesus is seen here. However, what can we gain from understanding the humility of a disciple who lets himself be served by God?
When God Serves You
I am understanding that there is an amazing humility worked into your soul when you let God serve you. When God serves you, the humility becomes more than you can contain, and a beautiful thing happens. The affections of your heart are awakened. It is no longer a “have to” lifestyle. It becomes an “I can’t wait to” lifestyle. I love because He first loved me. I live because He first served His life to me on a blood soaked cross. He serves His graces to me daily, which I cannot return. I cannot serve what has not first been served.
Later, after many invitations to wait for someone else to get the door for me, I asked the Lord, “What’s in this for You?” His reply? “It is My pleasure (to get the door for you).” Once again the Lord offends my mind to expose my heart—can it be that my yielding to God serving me gives Him pleasure? Isn’t that what I desire, to give Him pleasure? Yes, He takes pleasure in my giving, and now I am challenged to believe that He also takes pleasure in my receiving.
Lovers vs. Workers
We all understand that sacrifice—giving up what we cherish—produces humility, right? And, if you are like me, most of those experiences border on humiliation. Is the act of receiving also creating humility in us? For me, the act of receiving what I do not deserve mounts into an unexpected flood of vulnerability, a beautiful torrent of humility that melts my human heart to say “yes” all over again.
You get so much more accomplished with a lover than a worker, don’t you? A worker only works for what he can see. A worker is task oriented, fueled to work for only what was promised and always appreciates a little recognition. A worker wastes so much energy stressing through the commands in order to achieve and meet expectations.
A lover, however, already has her reward and whatever is asked becomes a pleasure to fulfill. A lover longs for the voice of her beloved to make His requests known. Because she has first received, she can’t wait for the chance to give out from those same riches. Because her beloved has no illusions about her, she does not fear disappointing the One who already knows everything about her. She lives from peace and is free to encounter joy in the serving. She goes the extra mile, giving herself to what she sees and what she has not seen (not yet anyway).
A worker will cover-up and compromise when the commands are impossible for him to achieve. A lover will simply see her need and boldly ask for more of what she doesn’t deserve. The strength of a worker weakens over the years, but a lover is continuously renewed in strength and empowered as she waits for Him to get the door for her.
Isaiah 55: 1-3 “WAIT and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy, and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing].
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy]. Incline your ear [submit and consent to the divine will] and come to Me; hear, and your soul will revive; and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with you, even the sure mercy (kindness, goodwill, and compassion) promised to David.”