“with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Cor. 4:5)
Why do I build relationships with other people? When I look around I see people building relationships for the purpose of getting something from the other person. Whether that something might be really selfish or maybe not so readily seen as being selfish. Whatever the case, because sin exists in this world we turn every relationship into a means to our own end. I get to know a person because of what they can give me. Now, if they don’t give me what I want then I will get really mad and offended.
Yet, here comes Christ’s kingdom and the purpose of relationships is transformed. You can already hear it in the words from Jesus, “So the last will be first, and the first last” (Matt. 20:16). There is a paradoxical reversal to the way we normally think. Our normal way of thinking is what was talked about above, “I get to the top by stepping on everyone else.” This heavenly way of thinking goes the exact opposite, “you get to the top by raising everyone else above you.”
It was this crazy way of thinking which is reflected in the verse at the very beginning of this post. I enter into relationships with people for what? To get their service? No. I do it so that I can be their servant! They should understand me not as one who is using them to gain, but using them to pour my service and love upon! Even when they give nothing in return.
Because those who are in union with the one who came not to be served but to serve by giving His life as a ransom for many can’t help but reflect His actions. All our service in relationships is for Jesus sake. He came and loved the unlovable. He served those who hated them. He gave his life as a propitiatory sacrifice so that the ungodly would look godly before His Father. Thus, our service, whether in word or deed, is a pointing to Him! Jesus Christ, who gave Himself without measure to us weak, frail people who had nothing, and still have nothing, to give Him in return.