The Servant Leadership of Jesus


Nicolaes Maes

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus,knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.

Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded." ~John 13:1-5

Though it was a holiday and a break from work for many, plenty of mamas around the United States spent yesterday much like any other--cooking meals, cleaning up messes, wiping faces, washing laundry. Sometimes it seems a holiday only guarantees there will be more work when the party is over! And yet what a gift it is, every time we are given the opportunity to have a few extra hours to gather with friends and relax with family.

In order for anyone to enjoy life at all, someone has to do some work! How could we enjoy a fun picnic if no one packed it? And lets' not imagine the way our children's bedrooms would look were all the moms to cease their labor!

I am grateful for the example of Jesus, who shows us over and over again as we read of the way He interacted with His disciples that these little things ... these unending, sometimes tiresome tasks moms face day after day ... they can become holy actions as we offer them to Him. Every time we serve our children, we invest in them, building bridges from our hearts to theirs, helping their souls understand the love and grace of God.

"Jesus spent His last night on earth with His disciples in service to them. How powerful their memories of that night must have been--the King of the whole universe touching and rubbing their dusty feet and gently drying them with a towel. Their Lord and Master breaking the loaf of bread and serving each of them for the celebrated feast of the Passover.

Jesus' example of servant leadership sets Him apart from so many historical religious leaders. He was not a God who lorded it over His followers and demanded they follow Him or coerced their obedience through authoritarianism and fear. Instead, He called them to the excellence of holiness and yet lovingly served them in order to win their hearts and show them the means of reaching others' hearts as well.

As I look to the hearts of my own children, even as adults, and seek to teach them about the grace of God, I realize my love and service to them must come before any of my great words, my teaching and training. My time--staying up late at night for conversations, watching movies and discussing them, my attention, my "soft-tickling", laying in bed with my sweet ones, listening to their hearts when I would rather be in bed--even when I am tired or have other "important" things on my mind--is what builds our relationship and prepares them to listen to what I have to say. Only then, once the wells of their need are filled with the grace of being loved, will my words to them about God's grace finally make sense."                               ~ from The Ministry of Motherhood

I want my children to understand God's goodness and love. And while demonstrating patience and service to them isn't always easy, it is always my privilege.

Even on a holiday!

How about you? What kind of weekend did you have?