So, it was my birthday this weekend. Woo-hoo. Since I was about ten I have not cared about my birthday. Sure, I’ll gladly accept your well wishes and gifts, but the day honestly has little meaning to me. Now, I’m totally not judging anyone who makes their birthday a big deal, it’s just not something that excites me. This year my birthday landed on a Sunday, which tends to be a busy day for someone in ministry. On top of my normal Sunday responsibilities my wife was singing in praise band and our five-year old had a 103-degree temperature. This led to me constantly shuffling between church duties, my sick son, and trying to prepare lunch. Of course, when I went to start lunch none of the dishes had been done from the night before, so I first had to do dishes {which, of course, I did without muttering anything derogatory under my breath!}. Then my son spilled all over the floor, leading to a substantial cleanup project. My well-planned afternoon birthday bike ride was ruined by hurricane force winds, and my son’s sickness torpedoed the one thing I had really wanted for my birthday: a family dinner at a favorite restaurant. At around 6PM I found myself frantically searching our cupboards for ingredients to somehow make my own birthday dinner. The following thought then came into my head: “all I’ve done all day is serve others. It’s my birthday for crying out loud! When are they going to serve me!”

 

Soon after that thought came into my mind I was reminded of this verse: the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many Matthew 20:28. Yep, not a very Christ-like thought I had just had! Now, when we hear the term Christ-like we usually think of moral perfection {i.e. not committing sins}. Yet, moral perfection is only part of what it means to live like Christ. At the core of Jesus’s teaching, ministry, and mission on earth was serving others. Think about who Jesus is. Jesus is the creator and ruler of the universe who chooses to take on the wretched flesh of humanity to serve us. Christ serves us not only by his teaching and ministry, but by His sacrificial death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. I want to offer this thought today: to live like Christ is to always be living as a servant. It means putting yourself aside {even on your Birthday} to improve the lives of others. It means joyfully serving, even when it means sacrificing your own wants and desires. It means holding serving others as a core value. Does that describe you? It certainly does not always describe me, but it does describe who I want to strive to be. This week, lets all strive to be more Christ like as we actively serve others.