When Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, he exemplified humble service. He taught them that the greatest among them should be like the least and that no servant is greater than his master. He showed them how his way is different than the world’s way, which teaches us to put ourselves first.
So when I think about humble service, I think of my father. He won’t boast about himself, so I will. My dad was a minister to small town churches in Illinois and Indiana. He never wrote a best-selling book about ministry or became famous for anything. I figure that in more than 45 years of ministry he preached at least 2,250 sermons. He made thousands of hospital visits, preached a few hundred funerals, spent almost 100 weeks working at summer church camp, and conducted probably a couple hundred weddings, including my own. And he did these things as the sole pastor of the churches he served — he had no “staff.” He was it (and he was often the janitor, too), along with my mom. He’s retired now, but not from volunteer service to the church where he and my mom are members. He continues to help out and be involved in different ways, not the least of which is his willingness to be a mentor to the church’s pastor.
He did all these things willingly and faithfully because he followed his Lord’s example. In turn, he modeled what Christian service is all about for his family and his church members.
Through my dad’s example, I learned that humble service means loving people as they are, whether rich or poor, whether you agree with them about everything or not. I learned that being part of a church family involves commitment. I learned that God is faithful when we trust him and follow where he leads. My dad’s years of ministry included some difficult times, some ministries that I know challenged him and made him wonder if this was really what God wanted him to do. Each time, God showed his faithfulness.
I know that I’m incredibly blessed to have a godly man for a father. Not everyone does. But no matter what kind of earthly father you have, Christ is the perfect example of how we are to love and serve. I know I want to follow that example.