The Joy in Serving
“The greatest among you will be your servant.” Matthew 23:11
At CCDC we serve those who work at lower-income jobs. This past year with the impact of businesses closing, many have lost their jobs. These folks struggle to put food on their table. We want to help them with the meals we serve each week, but equally important, we want to affirm their dignity and value.
In our society, the prevailing view of those who are construction workers, waiters, maids, janitors, or others who work in low pay jobs, is that they are less valuable. They’re ranked socially near the bottom. We unconsciously see these low-income people as less significant. Jesus didn’t see people this way. In fact, he had the opposite view. Why did he do this? Jesus did not romanticize slavery – an evil institution – or describe in an idealistic fashion the hard, grueling, and often demeaning work of a servant. He was seeing something extremely valuable about the humble work of the jobs others looked down upon.
My dad taught me the value of hard work. During the Great Depression, he dropped out of high school to work as a sharecropper in the South. Later he worked at a steel mill and learned a trade as a pipe fitter. He worked in what Mike Rowe called “Dirty Jobs” in his TV show. He never saw himself as inferior to those who worked as doctors, lawyers, or executives.
Jesus treated all people as equals and saw the work of those who were the lowest servants as having the greatest value. Why? I believe there are two reasons. First, work, even dirty jobs, has dignity. God works! Genesis tells us that God worked to create the universe. Then God told Adam and Eve to go work the earth. God gives value to work. Work is a divine activity. Jesus said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” John 5:17. Secondly, work gives dignity to others we serve. Workers can take joy in their work as they see it benefit those they serve.
Jesus pushed even further to view the dignity of work, even the lowest of work. At that time, the washing of feet was considered one of the lowest, most menial of tasks — fit only for the lowest of slaves. Jesus shocked his disciples in washing their feet. He told them that to be great they must be the servants of all the others. His teaching was beyond a mere lecture. It was a practical example of servanthood. Also, Jesus showed the disciples that servanthood is not just a matter of casual service. It is central to discipleship. He would soon demonstrate the lowest of all serving. His suffering on the cross would serve for the redemption of the world to pay the price of our sins. There’s no greater act of serving than when someone lays down his life for others. Jesus demonstrated his love for us and his example for us to follow.
I marvel at the love that is shared by those have who come to serve at CCDC. Our volunteers have the opportunity to serve in simple ways by putting together the meals and giving them out. We experience the joy that Christ gives us in serving others.
Mrs. Coleman is one of our caterers who provides our dinner meals. She exudes joy in her being able to be a part of our ministry in the city. Jessica and Harry are faithful volunteers on Wednesdays. They serve with immense enthusiasm in putting together our carry-out meals.
Come experience the joy of serving at CCDC. You can sense the presence of Christ as we serve the needs of those who come from the Near Eastside community. Help support us in bringing the love of Christ to all people.
May God’s peace be with you,
Pastor Jim and Debby Riley