Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

January 7, 2018


Serving others – the key to a great life


        Two words reveal the secret to a great life: serving others. So let’s examine those two words.

        The word “serving” reminds us that followers of Jesus are called to serve. To do so is to follow the example of Jesus who humbly washed the feet of his disciples. We have a choice. We can strive to have people serve us or we can find ways to serve. One choice leads to misery, the other to peace.

        The word “others” reminds us of the Salvation Army, founded by William Booth. Booth’s wife Catherine served the poor and homeless alongside her husband. She taught their children to serve. Every night when she put them to bed, the last word she uttered in the ear of each one was the word “others.” This was the ultimate purpose of the Salvation Army: to serve the people Jesus described as “the least of these.”

        Many of us begin a new year by making resolutions which sadly are soon broken. A wiser plan might be to begin the new year by looking for ways to “wash feet.” When Jesus washed the dirty feet of his disciples, he explained to them that he did so as an example of how he expected them to live.

        On another occasion Jesus explained to his disciples that he had not come into the word “to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom” for others. These words, found in Mark 10:45, have been called “the most revolutionary verse in the Bible.”

        Why is this a revolutionary idea? Perhaps it springs from the fact that many of us are “control freaks.” We want to rule, to have others serve us. Humble servanthood is not our game. And for many of us, life is all about me, what I want and what pleases me. Selfishness rules out any thought of “others.”

        But we have no choice is we are to live as authentic followers of Jesus. To follow him we must serve others. We wash feet; it is not optional. Think about how Albert Schweitzer and Mother Teresa are universally admired. Both of them washed feet. They served others. They modeled servanthood.

        There are many ways to “wash feet.” Jim does it by weekly grocery shopping for a homebound neighbor. Ron does it by being available 24/7 to a friend who is a recovering addict. Coralie does it by cooking meals for “the least of these” in a poor neighborhood of her community. John does it by cutting the lawn for a neighbor who is recovering from surgery. If we look around us we can find simple ways to wash feet, thus sharing the love of Jesus in deeds, not words.

        It may well be that the best way to recommend Jesus is to serve others. And serving others is surely the secret to a life well lived. + + +