America, not so very long ago, practiced what was known as "full service."
There were full-service gas stations -- store employees would carry your groceries to your car and the milk man would deliver milk right to your doorstep. Today, however, we are more familiar with "self-serve" or "self service."
Self-serve. It's an interesting play on words. Is it really "service" at all?
Jesus had another standard. Jesus washed feet.
You can't get much lower than washing sand and sweat from a traveler's feet after an all-day trek on the dusty, unpaved roads of Judea. Such dirty duty usually fell to a slave, not a savior. But Jesus wanted to leave us with an unforgettable snapshot of sincere service. (John 13:4-6)
Jesus washed those filthy feet on one of the most heart-wrenching days of his life. Within mere hours, he would face betrayal, brutality and a cross. His followers responded to it all by arguing about who was the most important among them. (Luke 22:24).
Sound familiar? Churches today still compare and compete, saying: "Jesus loves me best!" "No way!" "You guys are out to lunch, I'll be the one sitting closest to him!"
In spite of it all, and loving his disciples to the end, Jesus rose from supper, wrapped a towel around his waist, and set about washing dirty feet.
German pastor Dietrich Bonheoffer, shortly before his execution at the hands of the Nazis in Flossenburg concentration camp during April 1945, wrote, "The Church is only the Church when it exists for others."
When we serve in love, we are most like Jesus.