The Most Profound Change
Our world is always in a “state”. Of course it will be – it is a fallen world and broken in so many ways. People are randomly shot at, nations are at war resulting in people’s homes and lives being wrecked, drug and warlords rule over entire regions with severe cruelty, children go hungry in even the richest countries in the world and we read in the major press that people in the 21st century are excessively lonely. God forbid that we ever accept this “state” as normal and acceptable. May we each do what is within our power to bring change and may we rub our knees red as we pray against these horrors. Jesus lived in a world that, too, was “in a state”. Within a world of cruel and domineering leaders, Jesus responded as a leader with compassion and he demonstrated this love through serving. The Almighty God chose to be revealed to this world through servanthood. Yet, this servanthood did not instantly change the state of the world around him. People were still treated cruelly. People were still destitute in poverty. People were still lost and lonely in riches. What Jesus did was to bring a new way of living within the poverty, within the riches and within the cruelty. This new way showed his followers how to find peace and joy within and despite the turmoil of their world. Jesus taught that the way to be great in the kingdom of God was not to retaliate with cruelty, or with revenge but, rather, to be the servant of all. He summed up this new way with this statement, “Love one another as I have loved you”. The way that Jesus loved was not by lording it over others, but by serving them. Jesus served the lowly and he served the high. He served the sick and he served the strong. He served his friends and he served his enemies. He served all … to the ultimate. God still chooses this. He still chooses to be revealed to us and to others through a love that serves. When we serve others the way Jesus did, we are not primarily bringing about social change (although changed societies is certainly a desired and good outcome), but rather, we are primarily expressing and revealing the very nature of our God to those we serve. The beautiful result is that not only do we show God to others, but we also find for ourselves and within ourselves that we are connected to God’s nature, his character, his very being. Jesus modeled an extreme and radical servanthood. We also see this lifestyle modeled by the early church fathers and, certainly, it did bring about profound change in the state of their world. More profound is the change it brought about in the state of their own heart. For those of us who serve in Orchard: Africa, it is so very important that while we are doing good, and while we are praying, that we maintain our faith by being attentive to the One who is the object of our faith. It is never we who are revealed but always He who is revealed to those we serve. May we think on these things!