Serving God with Humility

Serving God With Humility

Last week we did some “soul searching” regarding God’s love for us.  I hope you were able to internalize it and feel it in a more personal way.  God wants us to “know” it, but he also wants us to take it in. He wants us to be so “full” of his love, that it just spills out of us into serving others. Jesus showed us many examples of what serving God with humility looks like in his own life. One event really stands out to me- when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. It was one of the last acts of humble service He would do in the hours before his arrest and crucifixion.

The Humility of Jesus

Foot washing was a task performed by the lowliest house servant. Before attending any feast, a man would bathe himself. Then, upon entering the home of the host, only his feet needed to be cleansed. This was a warm climate, they wore sandals, and they reclined at tables to eat. You wouldn’t want someone’s dirty, stinky feet next to you while you ate, right?

Because the Last Supper was a private affair, there was no servant available to perform the task. The disciples certainly didn’t think they should provide the service. I’m wondering why they just wouldn’t wash their own feet, but we won’t go there…..

The story begins in John 13:4- “So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.”

The Creator of the universe humbles himself to perform the lowest, most demeaning job.

Continuing in verse 14- “And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”

He set an example to the disciples and to us of what humility and humble service looks like. If God is willing to do this lowly task, shouldn’t we follow his example?

Benefits of Serving

There’s a bonus involved- Jesus tells his disciples in verse 17- “Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.” I’m pretty sure our service should come with a humble spirit. I’d like to tell you a story about myself that showed me the power of service, and the blessing I received, even though my spirit was definitely not humble.

A Lesson in Humility

I found myself in a whole new world of “time for myself” once my youngest child started full-day kindergarten. I’d been dreaming of all the projects I could finally accomplish and the new interests I could pursue with gusto.

I’d been attending a Bible Study that had a children’s program which my youngest had attended with me. I could now attend the monthly (or spontaneous!) lunches without hunting down the all elusive childcare.

About three months into my newfound freedom, the children’s leader approached me to see if I would fill in for the last half of the year. The regular leader needed to take a leave of absence.

My probably crestfallen face led her to quickly ask me to pray about it before I gave her my answer. I agreed to pray.

I knew in my heart I would do it, but in my head, a battle of “but I don’t want to” raged. It meant an extra day of meetings, extra preparation time, and staying later on lesson day. Goodbye to luncheons and fellowship.

God Answers Prayer

When our study resumed after the break, I wasn’t the only newbie in class. A tiny, shy, blond-haired boy appeared; glued to his Momma’s side.

I happened to be sitting on the floor next to a big box of small cars. Apparently, he liked cars (and me) because we instantly clicked. He wasn’t very talkative, and he wanted to only hang out with me.  That was fine by me. (We gave my youngest child the nickname “Velcro Child.” I had to peel her off me in most social situations.) So this little guy’s behavior hardly seemed abnormal to me.

He became my little buddy. Every week, he would seek me out.  There was not a lot of conversation, but he never seemed fazed when his Momma left. He was my quiet, sweet shadow.

On the very last day of class, when we had to say goodbye, I told his Momma that I really felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when she had to leave the Scarecrow behind- I would “miss him most of all.” I actually got a little choked up about leaving him…..

His Momma did too, but for a whole different reason.

She told me that she hesitated to even join the Bible study and bring him to the children’s program, as he had special needs and didn’t think he would be able to handle it. “I prayed for a leader that would be a perfect fit for him. I could hardly believe it when he was drawn to you that first day and you became such good buddies. Thank you for being his leader.”

Well, that’s when the real waterworks started for me….

Humbled Before God

I immediately thought of my selfish and begrudging “yes” that I had given when asked to serve.

I thanked God for using me even though I didn’t really want to commit to His service in this way.

I asked for His forgiveness for making it all about me. God planned for me to be an answer to this mom’s fervent prayer for her child.

Talk about being humbled! What a great lesson I learned that day.

God took my feeble yes and answered that Mom’s prayer.

Serving God With Humility

Our love for others needs to be genuine and practical

Be observant and keep your eyes open for ways to serve others in your daily life. Serving can be as simple as holding a door open, smiling at a stranger, giving a simple compliment, giving encouragement, calling a friend, sending a note, etc.

I learned a lot from my neighbor, who would stop her car to chat while I was outside. “I’m going to the store- do you need anything?” she would ask. She truly has a servant heart- always asking how she can help others, and stopping by just to catch up on our lives.

We should value others over ourselves

Our service should come from a place of love for God and by extension, the love of others. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Phil 2:3.

Isn’t that what Jesus modeled for us in the washing of the disciple’s feet? Do we have a “vision” problem? Pray for the ability to look at others and see what Jesus sees.

Evaluate your “To Do” list

When I was asked to serve, I looked at my wants and desires first. It pained me that I wasn’t going to get what I wanted. I knew, however, that my attitude was wrong. God was so kind to me even though I served with a reluctant heart. He blessed me with a beautiful gift- the joy of this little boy and the realization that sometimes our service is an answer to prayer for someone.

Must you say yes every time an opportunity arises?  Absolutely not. Stretching yourself too thin, becoming burdened with too much stress, or wearing yourself out physically is not what God has in mind for you. Evaluate and prioritize where you can serve. When service is your priority, the less important things fall away.


Pray to have a servant’s heart.  Ask God where he needs you. Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to where you might serve. Then Do– follow through when you see a need.

Can you imagine what our world would look like if there was more service going on and less self-centered behaviors? You can make a difference in your own little corner of the world.  Show others what real love looks like!



“Serve one another humbly in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13

Photo Credit: Kingdom Bloggers

10 thoughts on “Serving God with Humility”

  1. I love your closing advice on how to get to the place where we serve God with humility; Pray, Listen, Ask, Do. I have a similar story of volunteering from an attitude of “this is what I’m supposed to do” and after basically doing those 4 things, received so much of a heart blessing from the role I took on. God has so much to show us when we serve!

    1. He is so good that way! I was blessed beyond measure in this situation. I took the lesson with me going forward- I want to see others through His eyes…

  2. I worked in the nursery at my Church for about 4 years and it was very humbling when the kiddos got attached to you so I can so relate to the little boy. Serving God in humility is where often grow the most

    1. My oldest was 14 when my last child was born. I had been waiting for the day when they were all in school for forever!! “Not so fast”- Jesus

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