Dear Campbell UMC,
One of the things a congregation should do is equip people to serve. It appears in the promises of membership, as one of the aspects of faith through which people promise to support the congregation – “…prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness…”
Often when we think of serving, we think of particular actions, like preparing a meal or volunteering in a clothes closet or going on a mission trip. How often do we think about the attitude that underlies these actions? How often do we think about the motivation behind them?
See, not only did Jesus serve, he took the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7). The word “form” is from the Greek word morphe, which is in the English language as the verb “morph,” very common in the superhero/fantasy vernacular. It is used when a character takes on a new identity.
In taking on a servant’s form, Jesus was doing more than going through the motions of serving others. He was taking on the identity of a servant. “Though he was in the ‘form’ of God,” he voided himself of this “form” (2:6) in order to take on another form altogether.
It reminds me of the difference between a politician serving soup in a homeless shelter for the sake of a photo opportunity versus a person whose only thought is to help other people in every single moment. It is about an authentic attitude of servanthood guiding our every action. The acts themselves are manifestations of the attitude.
One of the “General Rules” for Methodists says that they will “continue to evidence their desire of salvation” by “doing good; by being in every kind merciful after their power; as they have opportunity, doing good of every possible sort, and as far as possible, to all.” In other words, taking the form of a servant, in humility and selflessness, always regarding the needs of others before one’s own needs.
This final Sunday in Lent, we will remember that “Jesus Served.” See you in church!
– Andy B.