Depending on who you talk to, you might hear about Jesus as either a triumphant king or a suffering servant. One person would tell you of his victory over death and demons and another the enduring love found in his solidarity with the pain of humanity.
What’s more on our journey, we often choose to highlight those expressions of God that most closely align with our own values. Now I do believe that the love and goodness of God is the one truth that gives context and life to all facets about his nature.
However, when we remove the oftentimes paradoxical manifold wisdom of God, we are left with something less than the beauty of His infinite nature.
Jesus demonstrated the love and faithfulness of a servant, leaving the resting place of his throne, without the resting place of his throne ever leaving his person.
To put it clearly: Jesus served from his place at the royal table, and he asks us to do the same.
Consider this scripture:
“A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.
For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’” – Luke 22:24-30
Contrary to what we might think, Jesus actually argues that the greatest is not the servant, but the one seated at the table. However, He says that he is among us as one who serves. As one seated at this royal table, he does not serve from lack, but he serves within our lack. As he enters our pain, his connection with heaven and its peace remain tethered and unbroken.
Seated to Serve
The wisdom of this paradox is that being seated at the table is the only way to truly serve. When we serve from a place of lack, our service becomes about our own need to find fullness. But when we serve from fullness, we have only but to give.
Consider the woman who gave all that she had, though she only had a little. The wealthy around her gave from their abundance. But in reality, they showed their own lack of trust in the limitless resources of God. She gave all she had, in total surrender, total trust that God in his goodness would be her sustenance and provision.
Jesus did not serve into his royalty, he served from his royalty.
If we are to serve, we must first receive the crown, the authority, the gift of his kingdom that he confers upon us. It is from this place and this place of infinite abundance alone that we are able to truly serve with love and sincerity. No longer needing to get, but in all blessing, to give.