Loving & Serving with Integrity
by Collene Borchardt
“I am not here to serve you!”
I shouted at my teen in frustration. I had just dropped everything to pick him up early from practice. But upon arriving at home all that concerned him was there being “no food in the house.”
We were running late so I left him to fend for himself, got my other two children in the van, and drove off to get them to their Wednesday night AWANA meeting at church.
Yep. I screamed at my son before heading to church. Not my proudest moment.
As I drove, feeling ashamed of my actions, I wondered what I could do differently next time. And then I realized the words I had spoken to my teen were not accurate.
I had told him I was not here to serve him.
And yet God commands me to do just that.
Related: The Weight & The Reward of Integrity
Serving with Integrity
On Jesus’ last night on earth, He got down on His hands and knees and took the time to lovingly wash all the dirt and grime from all twelve disciples’ feet.
Even the feet that would leave a few minutes later to betray Him.
When He was done He told the disciples, “Since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” (John 13:14-15 NLT)
Jesus calls us to follow His example and serve those around us. And to do it with integrity.
“I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”
One definition of integrity means “the state of being whole and undivided”.
When Jesus washed his disciple’s feet, He did it with his entire being and an undivided heart. He did not serve them while secretly complaining about them in his head. He did not love them while also harboring bitterness in His heart.
He loved and served with his whole, undivided being. He did it with integrity.
The Cost of Integrity
Another description I have heard of integrity is that it is measured by your willingness to do the right thing . . . even when it costs you.
In Jewish society, the chore of washing feet would have been given to a Gentile slave. Even a Jewish slave would have been considered above such a lowly task.
Yet Jesus chose to serve his disciples by taking on that job. And then commanded them to do the same.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” -John 15:12 NIV
Jesus calls us to love and serve each other with integrity. Even when the job seems below us and is the last thing we want to do. Even when no one is watching, and it costs us something.
The night I lost my cool with my son, I did not love with integrity.
I had been more concerned with what I wanted to get done, what people would think of me if we showed up late, and the frustration I had with my teenage son acting like . . . well, a teenager.
“Love each other as I have loved you.”
I did not love my family with my whole being that night. My heart had been divided by its own desires. And I was not willing to pay the cost.
But God is good. And He started showing me ways that I could love and serve like Jesus in the future. There are three things I noticed about the way Jesus served.
Three Ways to Love and Serve with Integrity
- Jesus spent time with God.
Jesus often went off by himself to pray. He made sure His needs were being met in His Father so He would have the strength to do what it took to love and serve those around Him. When we spend time with Jesus, He fills our hearts with His love so we can, in turn, pour out love on our family.
- Jesus thought about what really mattered.
Jesus knew after everything was done here on earth He would return to His Father in Heaven. He knew what really mattered was the way He loved and served those around Him. When we fix our thoughts on eternity it makes it easier to see what really matters.
- Jesus did not do it all.
Jesus did not say yes to everything. He did not wash the feet of everyone. He simply did what His Father told Him to do. He washed the feet of the disciples the Father had given Him to love and teach. And then Jesus told them to go and do the same to others. When we stop trying to do it all, we have the time to do what God has called us to do with integrity.
Mother Theresa once said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”
Jesus loved the family God gave Him. And it changed the world.
We need to stop trying to do it all and remember what really matters. We need to ask Jesus to help us love and serve our families wholeheartedly, with integrity.
And by doing that, who knows?
We may just end up changing the world.
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Collene is a wife and mother of three who loves to write in her spare time. She writes to inspire women to find their hope in Jesus. And encourages them to seek rest in His Presence while facing the chaos of everyday life. She longs for all women to know they are loved, adored, forgiven, and can be used for God’s Kingdom no matter how broken they are. You can connect with her on her blog, Rest and Chaos, or over on Facebook or Instagram.
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