DO YOU like it when someone does something nice for you?— Well, other people like it when someone does something nice for them too. We all do. The Great Teacher knew that, and he was always doing things for people. He said: ‘I came, not to be served, but to serve.’—Matthew 20:28.
So if we want to be like the Great Teacher, what must we do?— We must serve others. We must do good things for them. It is true that many people do not do this. In fact, most people always want others to serve them. At one time even Jesus’ followers felt this way. Each one wanted to be the greatest or the most important.
One day Jesus was traveling with his disciples, who were his followers. After they entered the city of Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee, they all went inside a house. There Jesus put the question to them: “What were you arguing over on the road?” They kept quiet because on the road they had argued among themselves about who was greater.—Mark 9:33, 34.
Jesus knew that it was not right for any one of his disciples to think that he was the greatest. So, as we learned in the first chapter of this book, he stood a small child in their midst and told them they should be humble like that little one. But still they did not learn. So shortly before he died, Jesus taught them a lesson that they would never forget. What did he do?—
Well, while they were all having a meal together, Jesus got up from the table and took off his outer garments. Picking up a towel, he wrapped it around his waist. Then he took a washbasin and put water into it. His followers must have wondered what he was going to do. As they watched, Jesus went around to all of them, bent down, and washed their feet. Then he dried their feet with the towel. Just think of that! What if you had been there? How would you have felt?—
His followers did not feel that it was right for the Great Teacher to serve them in this way. They felt embarrassed. In fact, Peter was not going to let Jesus do this lowly service for him. But Jesus said that it was important for him to do it.
We do not usually wash one another’s feet today. But this was done when Jesus was on earth. Do you know why?— Well, in the land where Jesus and his followers lived, people wore open sandals on their bare feet. So when they walked on the dirt roads, their feet got covered with dust. It was a kindness to wash the dust off the feet of a person who came into the house to visit.
But this time not one of Jesus’ disciples had offered to wash the feet of the others. So Jesus did it himself. By doing this, Jesus taught his followers an important lesson. They needed to learn this lesson. And it is a lesson that we today need to learn.
Do you know what the lesson is?— After Jesus put his outer garments back on and took his place at the table again, he explained: “Do you know what I have done to you? You address me, ‘Teacher,’ and, ‘Lord,’ and you speak rightly, for I am such. Therefore, if I, although Lord and Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash the feet of one another.”—John 13:2-14.
Here the Great Teacher showed that he wanted his followers to serve one another. He did not want them to think only about themselves. He did not want them to think that they were so important that others should always serve them. He wanted them to be willing to serve others.
Wasn’t that a fine lesson?— Will you be like the Great Teacher and serve other people?— We can all do things for others. This will make them happy. But best of all, it will make Jesus and his Father happy.
It is not hard to serve other people. If you watch, you will see many things that you can do for others. Think now: Is there anything that you can do to help your mother? You know that she does many things for you and the rest of the family. Can you help her?— Why not ask her?
Maybe you can set the table before the family eats. Or maybe you can clear the table of the dirty dishes after the family finishes eating. Some children take the garbage out every day. Whatever it is that you can do, you will be serving others, even as Jesus did.
Do you have younger brothers and sisters whom you can serve? Remember, Jesus, the Great Teacher, served even his followers. By serving your younger brothers and sisters, you will be copying Jesus. What can you do for them?— Maybe you can help them learn to put their toys away when they are finished playing. Or maybe you can help them get dressed. Or perhaps you can help them make their bed. Can you think of anything else you can do for them?— They will love you for doing these things, just as Jesus’ followers loved him.
In school too you can serve other people. It might be your classmates or your teacher. If someone drops his books, it would be kind of you to help him pick them up. You might offer to clean the blackboard or to do something else for your teacher. Even holding the door open for someone is a kind service.
At times, we will find that people will not thank us for serving them. Do you think that this should stop us from doing good?— No! Many people did not thank Jesus for his good works. But that did not stop him from doing good.
So let’s never hold back from serving other people. Let’s remember the Great Teacher, Jesus, and always try to follow his example.