Having a Servant Heart like the Heart of Jesus

That's the title of the retreat that I have been giving this weekend to deacon candidates of the Diocese of Tulsa. In my last talk today I talked about being servants.

Jesus shows us that service is the way that we return love for love. Jesus was filled with love for His Father and this was shown in His response to the Father's love. He returned love for love by uniting His will to the will of the Father and giving Himself in service to the Father's human children, His brothers and sisters.

Jesus told the apostles and us, "I no longer call you slaves, ... I have called you friends" (John 15: 15). Our service of God, then, is not servile but loving. It is not a service done in fear of punishment or as part of a transaction that demands payment for services rendered. Like the service of Jesus it is a loving service. Christian servants share time and work with the truest and best friend ever--Jesus.

When was Jesus a servant? Answering that question we probably immediately think of all His activities of teaching and healing. And certainly forgiving sins was part of His service. On the cross His service culminated with the suffering and death by which He reconciled humanity to the Father and to one another.

But what about when he was growing up? His learning how to walk and talk and read? What about when He worked side by side with His foster father Joseph in the carpenter shop or accompanied him on trips to fix other people's things? What about when He kicked back to relax at the house of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus in Bethany? Was eating and resting and sleeping also part of His service?

Yes. Every moment of His life was an act of love for the Father and for humanity, done in perfect obedience to the loving will of His Father and ours. Every waking and sleeping moment of His life was an act of redemptive love done as the perfect servant of God.

To have a servant heart like the Heart of Jesus means doing the same. It means making every act an act of love for God. It means making an offering of every thought, word, and deed, every prayer, work, joy, and suffering, every breath and every heart beat. Serving God is not a part-time occupation. It's our entire life. Only with the Heart of Jesus transforming our hearts will we be able to be a servant of God as Jesus was.