He opens her car door. She types out his research paper. He mows her lawn. She bakes him cookies.
These “little things” may not seem like much to some, but for those who respond to the love language of “acts of service,” they mean the world.
We’ve come to the last love language described by Dr. Gary Chapman, and as I thought about how God speaks this one to His children, I realized that John 15:13 basically summed it up.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (KJV).
Yep, this could be a very short blog post. I could stop right there, because what else is there to say? Jesus Christ made the ultimate act of sacrifice in giving Himself to pay the price for our sins.
However, before He did so, Jesus also gave His disciples an example to follow, an example that applies to us today.
There in the upper room, the disciples felt the unspoken tension. First, why was Jesus washing their feet? And second, which one of them did He mean when He said, “You are not all clean”? (John 13:11, NKJV).
Peter had finally given in and allowed the Master to wash his feet – after Jesus had told him that if He didn’t wash his feet, Peter would have no part with Him. The disciples nervously laughed at Peter’s impetuousness when he then asked Jesus to wash his hands and head as well.
But they still didn’t understand. And so Jesus explained.
“Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:12b-15 ESV).
Does God want us to go around washing each other’s feet? Literally, probably not. Figuratively, yes. Foot washing was the job of the servant, the lowest member of the household.
By washing His disciples’ feet, Jesus was telling them to serve one another, to serve others. A servant is not greater than his master, and Jesus – their Master – had just washed their feet.
The message couldn’t be any plainer.
And the message applies just as much to God’s children today as it did to the disciples back then. John 13:35 says, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (KJV).
An act of service conveys a servant’s heart and a genuine love and concern for another person. It means putting someone else first.
Do we give that kind of love? To our families? Friends? Significant others?
What about to strangers? Hebrews 13 says that by entertaining strangers, some have unknowingly entertained angels.
The bottom line is this. If we love God, we’ll serve others and share Jesus with them. In doing so, we’ll spread the greatest Love ever given.