When I think about the life of Jesus and how he is our example to follow, three things among many stand out. These three things to me typify what we as his followers should also put into practice in our lives.
The three things are , service, sacrifice and sincerity.
Jesus came to serve and not be served.
Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
His humility enabled him to take on the form of a slave. Slaves did not have a life of their own. They were the property of their owner. Jesus condescended from a position of equality to become one of the lowest forms of life regarding status as a slave. He came to serve his father by being obedient to whatever his father asked him to do. He only did what the father told him to do. A servant always put his personal desires below the desires of his master. When the master returned home the servant immediately served the needs of his master. It did not matter what hour of the day the master returned nor how tired the servant may have been, he had to attend to his master. As believers in Christ we are called to serve our father and do what he calls us to do to serve each other and the people in the world. Our lives must testify that we truly are servants and not masters.
Jesus demonstrated being a servant in many ways but the greatest example is when he washed his disciples feet at the last supper. Washing dirty feet was not in the minds of his disciples but it was in the heart of Jesus. What lowly job are we willing to do in obedience to our father and in service to others?
George Washington Carver was serving as professor of a college during a time in the United States when there was much discrimination against his ethnic group, black African Americans. He was walking past a home of a white lady who was standing in her front yard. She assumed his was a slave and asked him to chop some wood for her. He did not rebuke the lady but kingly agreed to cut her wood. He did not reveal his identity but one day she attended a fund raising event for the college and suddenly realized that the president of the college was the man who cut her wood! She was very embarrassed by her treatment of him and later apologized and then gave a generous donation.
A humble heart enables us to serve people and not be controlled by status or preference. I am always impressed by people who are willing to serve when the opportunity is offered to do something that may not be the most exciting or glamorous task. Whatever we do must be done to please the Lord. it does not matter if we are recognized or rewarded by others, our true reward will be the words of our father when he days, "well done good and faithful servant..."
The second element I find in the life of Jesus was his willingness to make sacrifices and ultimately give himself as the sacrifice for our sins. When Jesus came to earth he sacrificed his position of equality. He gave up his heavenly home as well as his earthly home when he began his ministry at the age of 30. For 3 years he lived as a guest in the home of whoever would receive him. He said of himself that birds and foxes have places to rest but he did not have a place to rest his head. In YWAM we are taught to be willing to lay down your rights in order to make yourself available to be used of God in areas of need and perhaps danger. We are not to be irresponsible to meet our obligations when we lay down our rights. You don't abandon your responsibilities to your children or spouse or ignore a debt you owe because you want to go somewhere else. God will help us meet those needs as we act responsibly and faithfully to his calling. Whatever we have comes from God and his blessing on our lives. When we give up anything in service to him he will remember and reward us in this life and in the life to come. Are we willing to sacrifice our possessions, our time, our finances,our home, our life style, our desire to be married, our have a good job in order to obey God's call on our lives?
John Maxwell states that in order for leaders to go up, they must be willing to give up. Sacrificial living should be a way of life and not a random act when our motivation may not be pure or correct.
The Moravians were willing to sacrifice their homeland, their fortunes and future families in order to have the opportunity to spread the gospel to St. Thomas island. The only way they could access this island was to sell themselves as slaves to work in the sugar cane fields. If we are going to reach the unreached people group of which there are more than 6,000 sacrifices will need to be made by both those who go and those who send them. What are we willing to sacrifice to be sent and minister to the needs of others who do not know the Savior?
The final trait I see in Christ was his sincerity. This word in Latin and Spanish means to be without wax. It was used to describe pots that did not wax to fill in the cracks. It was the mark of person who did not try to put on a false front to deceive or impress others. Jesus had the right attitude and motivation for everything he did. He did not try to call attention to himself but often told those who were healed or delivered to not say anything to others about what happened. His actions were motivated by genuine love for his father and people. Our motivation and attitude must be to bring glory and honor to God in everything we do.
The Pharisees were rebuked by Jesus because of their desire to have attention given to them. They were the original inventors of the Selfy.
Politicians often pose to have pictures of them doing acts of service to the poor or needy people. It is all about presenting an image that will make them look like they care for others. Their sincerity is immediately called into question.
This should never be the case of a true follower of Jesus. Whatever we do should be done with all of our heart and with the goal of honoring God. Why we do what we do will determine how we do it.
Let's make sure we have sincerity in all we do in our service to the Lord and others.
Jesus is our model of how we are to live each day. His life of service, sacrifice and sincerity should describe our lives each day.