Serving: A Different Difference


“And 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


When was the last time you heard a sacred statement? The kind of statement where something so powerful is shared that it strikes a chord in your soul and sends reverberations into your mind that forever alters the way you view life.

I sat near the back of the auditorium a few summers ago at an FCA Leadership Camp, listening to the camp chaplain, former Olympic wrestler Nate Carr. I’m not sure if he realized it, but he shared a sacred statement. Here’s what he said: “A lot of people want to make a difference, but not a lot of people want to be different.”

Reflect on that for a moment. We cross paths daily with individuals that evoke some level of passion to make a change for something. Anything. Maybe you consider yourself hungry to make a difference. Some causes are noble. Others aren’t. Yet the desire for difference-making is common. But how many people are truly willing to be different? One can argue that unless you are different—meaning your life looks markedly different than those around you—you can’t make a true difference. 

One of the most shocking depictions of this comes in John 13. Jesus’ disciples rightly referred to Jesus as their “Lord” and “Teacher,” which implies He had authority and influence. And yet, Jesus knelt down and washed His disciples’ feet. Jesus scrubbed off the dirt, rinsed away the dust, and created an intimate connection with each of His followers. Current culture scoffs at that type of humility. What teacher would actually get down on the ground and forsake his or her own ego? Jesus was different. Here’s a sacred statement from Jesus on this: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others…” (Mark 10:45).

Jesus could have used His authority to force the disciples to wash His feet. Instead, He washed theirs. That’s different. To truly be different – which empowers true difference-making – one must serve. 

Is this true in your life? Is it different? Do you get humbly low to serve others?

Maybe you’re desiring to be a difference-maker with a passion to impact your team. Perhaps you’re wondering how to adopt this perspective of serving. Take a look at four things the Teacher demonstrates about serving in John 13:

  • Jesus knew His identity and mission (John 13:3) – Jesus could get humbly low because He had power from on high. Jesus knew that He came from God and was returning to God. He didn’t worry about others’ opinions nor did He drift from His mission on Earth.
  • Jesus loved His enemy (John 13:2, 11) – Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him. It would have been easy for Jesus to only wash the feet of the other faithful 11 disciples. Yet, Jesus was different and served even His most vile enemy. 
  • Jesus served even though it was unrealized (John 13:7) – Jesus firmly focused on pleasing the Father when serving, even though His disciples didn’t recognize what was happening in the moment. 
  • Jesus saw the internal needs (John 13:10) – As Jesus met a practical need (washing feet), He saw the deeper spiritual reality in play. Through this act of serving, Jesus illustrated the larger story of God’s forgiveness, grace, and sanctification for believers. He strengthened the disciples’ faith. 

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you can be different. How? Model Jesus’ example of serving. God can use you to impact your team regardless of your position or title. Get humbly low so that God’s glory can be lifted high. That’s making a true difference.

  • Do you know your identity and mission as a Christ-follower?
  • What is the most difficult aspect for you when seeking to humble yourself to serve others on your team?
  • When serving practical needs, are you aware of the spiritual needs of those your serve too?

John 13:1-17


“Lord, I desire to make an eternal difference on my team. I need Your Spirit to make me different by serving. Strengthen me to get humbly low so that Your glory can be lifted high. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Bible Reference: 
John 13:14-15
John 13:1-17:0