Keys to the Kingdom – Carolyn Tucker
My everyday routine occasionally triggers a childhood memory for me. I guess that’s a sign I’m getting older, but I really enjoy my trips down memory lane. While eating some canned peaches the other night, I remembered that when I was a kid I only liked to eat the sweet heavy syrup. There was no nutritional value in the syrup, and by refusing to eat the fruit I missed out on some protein, fiber, and vitamins. I eventually outgrew that silliness and now I eat the peaches and pour the syrup down the drain!
Occasionally, it appears that some Christians only want the limelight of following Jesus. You know, just the sweet stuff. But Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me“ (Matthew 16:24 NLT). Taking up your cross means to give your entire life to God. It’s a total dedication of your soul, spirit, and body given to His service in anything He says. You may be thinking, “God hasn’t told me to do anything for Him.” I think you better blow the dust off your Bible and read it.
Following Christ wholeheartedly means being a servant. At the Passover supper, scripture reveals the following account: “So He [Jesus] got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him. …And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them” (John 13:4,5,14,15, 17 NLT).
The Son of God and King of kings performed an object lesson in humility and servanthood. Since Jesus humbled Himself to do the lowly service of a slave, we should serve one another in the same way. Sometimes we want the blessing without the service or the dedication. We also need to realize that love is the motive for being a servant. If we serve out of duty, then there’s no blessing in helping others because it‘s just a “job.” But if we serve out of love and compassion, then we’re reaching out to others as Jesus commands us.
The road of unselfish service is pretty narrow. There’s no room for all the sweet stuff you think you need, so toss it out. Living a self-centered life will blind you to the basics of what Jesus taught. But once your selfishness is laid aside, you’ll be able to see those in need. You’ll be free to use your gift to bless others: “God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10 NLT).
Servant living is not popular today because the focus of our culture is on personal happiness and comfort. Believers should pray for a bigger servant’s heart toward God and man. Since Jesus washed dirty feet, it’s fair to say there’s no act of kindness too lowly for Christ followers to perform.
The Key: If you want a blessed life, drain the syrup and follow Jesus’ example.