Lead Pastor Nate Manore:
Recently on a Saturday morning, I was keeping an eye on Luke, who’s only a couple of months old, and when I picked him up from his seat and saw a yellow-brown streak running down his leg, pooling in the seat, and running onto the floor. So, for the next half hour, Sarah and I were cleaning up him, the chair, the floor, running laundry, etc. And once that was done, Sarah had to get ready to leave for an event, leaving me last on the list to get clean. As I was picking up in the kitchen, I looked down and saw a long poop stain running down the front of my shorts. I’d forgotten about that one. But since I wasn’t next up for the shower, I just kept working and trying to make sure that I didn’t bump into anything. That’s not anything special. Moms and Dads everyday put up with basically the same set of circumstances. It’s just the way some days are.
But as much as it is fairly normal, it is an example of leadership. Good parents are one of the best examples of what leadership ought to be. Parents want what's best for their kids, and they will sacrifice to make it happen. Ok, sometimes not completely willing, but the point remains that the sacrificial love is what makes a good leader. Sometimes, being a leader means wearing the poop for a few minutes, because that’s what is best for the family.
In John 13, Jesus washes his disciples' feet and immediately connects that action back to his role as teacher and master. He’s modeling and teaching servant leadership. It’s a uniquely Christian concept. As Christians, our role is always to serve one another. It’s always to build up one another. There is no room for self-seeking, everything is for the benefit of others. Paul re-affirms this when he says in the opening verses of Galatians 6 that we should bear one another's burdens.
There is no room in Christ to think that we don’t have that responsibility, to land on “It’s not my problem” or to blame people for their own issues. Christ’s example was to step into our mess and clean it up. Not his problem, he wasn’t a sinner, we had broken the relationship. And it was our fault. Not question that the blame was entirely on us. But because he loved us, Christ willingly suffered in order to restore us. He didn’t ignore the problem, he didn’t leave us to work it out on our own, he stepped in and fixed it.
When people around us need our help, when they can’t do for themselves, we need to step in and help them. It doesn’t matter if it’s easy, or inconvenient, or completely disrupts our lives. Our focus needs to be on what we can do to help the people around us, rather than on what makes us happy or makes us feel successful.
Truly living this out can involve radically re-evaluating your life. We often build defense mechanisms against helping others by having excuses built into our schedule. We need to look at how many of the things we pack into our schedules are for the sake of our own selfish desires, and how many involve serving a hurting world. We need to make time to talk when someone calls us with a problem. We need to free up a Saturday to spend with someone who is alone and disconnected. We need to encourage and build up people that are going through tough situations. We need to ask “How are you?” and really mean it.
As we reach out to the people around us and love them the way Jesus loved us, we become more and more like Jesus.
Galatians 6:2 & 3 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.