The spirituality of service is the spirituality of Jesus. Jesus says that “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). Jesus served as He said. Jesus’ life was a life of service. The pinnacle of Jesus’ service is in giving Himself to serve sinners on the cross. True service is giving oneself. It is to give out the most precious thing.
Jesus’ service is the service of kneeling. The most important thing in service is the attitude of the heart. The attitude of the heart affects that of the body. In order to kneel in body, you must kneel in heart first. Service begins when the heart is opened. When the heart is opened, hands are opened for service, and the body moves for service.
Jesus prepared the water in the basin to serve His disciples, took a towel, put it on His waist, knelt down and washed His disciples’ feet. The symbol of Christianity is a cross and an empty grave. And a towel. But we often forget the towels for service. Among the things Jesus commanded for us to do repeatedly is baptism and the sacrament, and another is the service of washing one another’s feet (John 13: 14-15). However, there is a tendency that baptism and the sacrament are practiced, but the service of feet washing is not practiced often.
In order to serve, you must first kneel down. Jesus himself knelt down in order to serve His disciples. You cannot serve without kneeling down. The posture of kneeling down is that of lowering oneself. It is a humble posture. We don’t usually kneel down before other people. The reason is that we may seem servile. It is because we may look like a loser, and a weak person. But kneeling down for service never seems servile or weak. Indeed, only courageous ones can kneel down and serve.
Jesus’ service washing away the dirty feet of His disciples was a service for forgiveness. Jesus had known that the disciples would soon sell, betray, and deny their master who would be heading for the cross. Knowing the sin that they would commit, Jesus had knelt beforehand and had forgiven them. Normally, the object to be forgiven must kneel before the person who is forgiving. But Jesus fell on His knees even before those who needed His forgiveness, and forgave them. The ultimate of service is in forgiveness.
The root of service is in love. Love makes us weak, and love makes us soft. Love makes us kneel down and serve. If you love, you lose though you have the strength to win. If you love, you do not want to win. When father and son wrestle, the father loses. The father loses not because he does not have strength, but because he loves his son. It is to give his son a sense of self-esteem. To win is power, but to lose is love. The love of losing touches the heart. To lose in spite of being able to win is consideration for others. If you love, you will serve even though you are in a position where you should be served. Jesus’ beautiful character shined the most in service.
We have to lower ourselves to serve someone. We cannot serve others with high posture. To serve, we have to lower ourselves, and be flexible. Serving is to relate to the object of service. Jesus related with Peter by washing his feet (John 13: 8). We serve in order to have relationship. It is to share intimate love.
The service of kneeling down is a holy concern for the beloved, and it means to respect the object of service. A wounded soul is healed when it is served by an unconditional love. Serving is the power of healing. The service with kneeling down is accompanied by mysterious joy. The fruit of serving is joy. Pure service does not expect any compensation. Nevertheless, the joy of heaven is on the serving soul. We do not serve to get joy, but when we serve, we experience the fullness of inner joy. When we kneel down and serve, we experience peace coming down from heaven. So serving is a mysterious principle of heaven. I wish we would learn the spirituality of Jesus’ service and practice the spirituality of service in this summer. The weather is very hot. Please take care of your health.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.