One of the greatest images of servanthood is contained in John 13 as we see Jesus washing His disciples feet. The God of the universe stripped down to the waist, took up a basin of water, and washed the dirt, grime, fecal matter, and disgusting off of each of the disciples feet. Now, I want you to understand something- in the culture of 1st century Palestine not even a Jewish slave would be expected to wash someone’s feet- it was relegated to the lowest gentile slave in a Jewish household. And Jesus took that place. No wonder Peter reacted the way he did- he saw Jesus taking a place Peter thought He shouldn’t go and labeling Himself as something less than the Christ, Son of the living God. But Jesus washed Peter’s feet- it took a bit of convincing- and then left us a charge: “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. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master.” Now He’s not talking literal feet washing here, but telling us how to consider ourselves in light of others. We are to look to serve others first, placing ourselves second.
In the church we far too often leave work to those doing it and then expect them to do more while they’re at it! The old 90/10 rule (that 90% of the work is done by 10% of the people) plays out in most congregations. At Heartland we don’t want to settle for something less than what God intended! We believe that every person was uniquely made and equipped by God- given a SHAPE that makes them fit for a job like no one else. Their Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences add up into someone supernaturally equipped to fulfill the purpose God has placed in their lives! Knowing that, Paul’s admonitions make even more sense:
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12.4-12, NLT)