serving and being served

I was challenged in my thinking again this morning after the reading in Giving It Up was reflecting on John 12:1-8.

This is the scene where Jesus visits Mary, Martha and Lazarus and Mary sits at his feet and washes Jesus’ feet in mega expensive perfume. In particular Maggi draws attention to the fact that Jesus does not tell Mary to stop. He did not say anything like ‘that’s enough now, I know you love me so you don’t need to do this!’ Jesus seems to sit back and allow Mary to perform this incredibly extravagant act who was very possibly pouring her entire life savings over his feet.

Maddi suggests that Jesus shows that he has reached a time when he simply needs to be cared for and loved. Too often we see stories of what Jesus did for others – here we see what others did for Jesus.

Jesus allowed himself to be cared for.
Jesus allowed himself to be served.

I guess in my ministry (for sake of a better word) this is what I find most difficult. My role, as I see is to serve others, to be a servant, to help others. When things get tough I persevere because that is what we are supposed to do. But here I think Jesus challenges us all in that martyr type outlook. Jesus seems to suggest that there are times when we need to allow others to care for us. As Maggi writes: ‘If even Jesus needed that, how much do we need it? It’s something worth remembering when we’re tempted to be self-sufficient under stress’.

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