A preacher friend told me about a couple in his congregation who flatly refused to pick up a young Christian for church. The reason was simple in their minds: “The young sister could be seen walking all over the city from Monday to Saturday, but somehow couldn’t walk to church on a Sunday.” I got to know the couple, but never met the young lady concerned. Surprisingly, I found the couple to be generous, kind, and free of any baggage that one might suspect to be in a couple who had refused to collect a fellow Christian for church. I have wondered if they thought it a case of: “Bear your own burdens.”
Christian servanthood is easy to define…when judging others, that is. But nobody likes it when others impose their definition upon them. At that point, “Bear your own burdens,” sounds like good advice.
However, if anyone lowered himself to “bear our burdens,” it was Jesus. Paul says of our divine Saviour:
“Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
The Hebrew writer adds that it was for the joy set before him that Jesus endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). Obviously, there is nothing joyful in the ignominy of the cross. Instead, Jesus’ joy lay in fulfilling the will of the Father—He destroyed the devil’s hold on death, and thus reconciled God and man.
Everyone wants to be the boss of something, and nobody wants to be thought of as a servant; we especially resent being treated like one. But when experiencing what Jesus’ service did for us, we share the joy by serving others—we emulate our Saviour.
“It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).