I have been asked recently how long am I to serve another person. This is a great question and one that is humanly difficult to answer. So, I will attempt to answer this question using the authority of God’s Word. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:13 that we are “to serve one another with love.” While this is absolutely true, it does not answer the question that has been posed. To do this we need to go back to the book of John and the 13th chapter. In this chapter, we will find a very familiar story. It is the last Passover and Jesus has His disciples all around, even the one named Judas. They were all gathered for that last meal, they had eaten and then Jesus did something that is absolutely fascinating. He takes off His outer clothes and puts on a towel, the garment of a servant, and begins to wash each one of the disciples feet. In John, it tells us that Satan had already swayed the mind of Judas to betray Jesus, yet Judas is there while Jesus washes the disciples feet. Even Judas’ feet were washed that evening.
What is the big deal about this, you may be asking? The answer is really simple, yet really convicting. Christ knelt down to wash the feet of the one He knew would betray Him. At the end of the foot washing, Jesus told Judas to go do what he needed to do. Jesus even told the disciples that they do not understand why He is doing this, but one day will. Jesus was willing to serve, with love, a person who would lead a host of angry people to Him. A person that would tell of his location so that they could go and arrest Him. What was his crime? He was guilty of love. We say that we love like Christ, yet we fail to serve one another with love. The very way we can demonstrate that we are Christ-like is to serve when the serving is not easy. To serve when the possibility of being stabbed in the back is real. To love like Christ is to serve like Christ. So, how long do we serve? At some point, Jesus had to tell Judas to go and do what he was going to do. There was no changing the mind of Judas; he was going to betray Jesus. Jesus gave him opportunity after opportunity to be a genuine follower, yet he died by suicide.
Think about this, Jesus may not have served Judas for the sake of Judas, but may have served Judas for the sake of the other disciples. He may have served Judas for the sake of you and I. I know, if you are like me, that you have a desire to be a Christ follower, and that means sometimes we will have to serve someone who will end up betraying us. This is not a valid excuse to never serve anyone like Jesus did. How long do I serve? As long as Christ is in your heart. It may not be the same person over and over, nevertheless, it may be the same person over and over. We do not have the responsibility, nor the power to make someone do right, we only have the power to make sure we are living right.