One essential Christian belief is that Jesus is God in the flesh. He is the embodiment of all things holy in a person who lived 2,000 years ago. He is the object of our worship and the savior of our souls.
With that said, you would think that when Jesus came to earth, he would demand the highest quality of life. Giving him the best of everything would be the only fitting way to treat our leader and God. Spare no expense for anything. Fine clothes, gold jewelry, the nicest form of transportation and all the luxuries this life will allow should be at his disposal.
Yet, Jesus is born in a stable. He lives 30 years in obscurity. Then he spends the next three years living as an itinerate preacher on handouts and sleeping in borrowed beds. His life is lived without any of the luxuries that we so desperately seek. To explain this less than glamorous life to his followers, he said in Mark 10:45 “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.”
Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. He came to change the world. He would ultimately defeat sin and death for all of humanity. The way he would do it was through service. A man who could have demanded anything instead chose to serve to the point of giving his life.
I need to remind myself of this daily.
I want the world to change for good. I want a happy home with a great marriage, wonderful children and the admiration of the neighborhood. I want people to make moral choices and forgive the failures of others. I want to see a world in which people care for the poor, hurting and lonely. I want a world that looks like the kingdom of God.
Most of the time I try to achieve this in ways that seem very unlike Jesus. I want to change the world through shouting. If I get angry and use a loud voice, I somehow think that will change people. I want to change the world through condemnation and judgment. If people knew that I did not approve of their actions, then they will change. I want to change the world through criticism and sarcasm. If I put people down and make sure they see their mistakes clearly, then they will change. If I post my disapproval all over social media in a funny and insightful way, then I am sure the world will begin to change for the better. Jesus understood that world revolution comes not with power or policy, but in a kind hand and an encouraging word.
Every day I need a reminder that the world is only changed through service.
Great families are built through service. Great marriages are about two people serving one another. Great Churches are those where people selflessly serve other people. Great communities are filled with people who serve behind the scenes for the betterment of others. A great world comes when we serve one another in the name of Jesus.
This week is the perfect opportunity for me to change the world, at least my little part of it.