The AMI QT Devotionals April 10-16 are written by David Son, who serves as the college pastor at Symphony Church in Boston. David, a graduate of UC Berkeley (B.S.) and Gordon-Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Grace who teaches at a public school.
DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR THE PASSION WEEK
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
To be completely honest, when I first started serving on staff at my church, I had a hard time submitting to my lead pastor. Of course, I never did let it show on the outside; I did every task I was asked to do. But as the months went on, a grumbling spirit was taking hold of my heart; and as I continued to serve, it gradually grew into a root of bitterness. Perhaps you have experienced a similar rebellion of the flesh against submission to authority, whether at church or in the workplace. I felt trapped in this position, feeling obligated to serve, while at the same time unable to articulate the growing vexation within. But then something happened.
It was January, a typical snowy Sunday in Boston. I had accidentally stepped into a puddle of slush on my way to Sunday morning service, and as a result, my shoes and socks were soaking wet. I took my shoes off and draped my dripping socks on the backseat of a chair as I helped setup for the worship service. A few minutes later, I went back to where I had put my socks, hoping to find them at least a little drier than they were before. To my surprise, they were gone! Just as I was about to accuse someone of stealing my socks, my lead pastor walked out of the bathroom, with my socks in his hands. He had taken them into the bathroom, washed them, and used the hand-dryer to blow dry my socks. He handed them to me and said, “I didn’t want you to get sick.” In that moment, as I was fighting back the tears, I felt God speak to me saying, “You’re struggling to submit to this man, but see how he is willing to serve you. So now, submit to him, joyfully.” From that day, the bitter root was gone, my grumbling spirit was broken off, and serving started becoming a joy.
I can imagine the shock of the disciples when Jesus began washing their feet. They probably never expected their Lord to serve them in such a way. Little did they know that He would give them so much more; He was going to lay down His life.
Have you been grumbling? Do you recognize a bitter root taking hold of your heart? If so, know this: Jesus laid down His pride, honor, and even His life in order to serve us. Let us joyfully submit to Him, and lovingly serve one another.
Prayer: Lord, may everything we do, whether it’s submitting to authorities, serving people, or obeying your commands, may we do it from a place of joy. Remind us that You first loved us and served us, especially if we find ourselves growing weary or bitter. Thank You that You are a Servant King. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Leviticus 4
LUNCH BREAK STUDY
Read John 13:34-35: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Questions to Consider
- In what manner are we commanded to love one another?
- According to Jesus, how will people recognize His disciples?
- What examples of Christ can we follow, as we strive to love one another?
- In this passage, when Jesus commands His disciples to love one another, He also includes this guideline to inform us of the manner in which we are to love: “just as I have loved you…” In other words, we don’t love based on how we feel like loving. Neither do we love based on whether or not the recipient deserves such love. Our love for one another is based on how Jesus loved us.
- Jesus says that people will recognize His disciples by the love they have for one another. In other words, the love that is displayed by the church should be so radical and so refreshingly different that it causes people to recognize that there is something special going on among the people of God.
- So much of Jesus’ life is set as an example for us to follow. This passage comes right after Jesus washes His disciples’ feet. One way that we can follow this particular example is to willingly commit ourselves to do the “dirty work.” The kind of tasks that no one else really wants to do, but someone needs to do. Things like doing the dishes, vacuuming, laundry—menial tasks that include very little glory and require very little skill. When we do these out of love for one another, we are reflecting the servant heart of Christ.
Are you serving in your church? What is your heart’s attitude towards serving?
If you aren’t serving in some capacity, you should serve in some way! And if you are currently serving, spend some time reflecting on how your heart has been towards serving. If you find that there is some grumbling or bitterness growing within, bring it before Jesus our Servant King.