April 11th 2010

Compassionate Service

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.”

Philippians 2:3-6 (NIV)

During the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples shared a cup of wine, symbolic of the blood that Jesus would shed on the cross. This cup came to be called “the Holy Grail”, the object of much speculation and wild mythologising. Of course, no one knows for sure what became of that cup, but legends abound, even attributing miraculous powers to the Grail and special blessing to whomever might locate it and unlock its supposed secret powers.

The term ‘Holy Grail’, itself, has come to represent an elusive quest for something of great value. One early legend about the Grail says it was taken to England, where it became the object of an ongoing quest by King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Some versions of the legend hold that when a knight located the mysterious castle where the Grail was kept, he was treated to a lavish feast and then allowed to ask a question about the Grail. If he failed to ask the right question, he was thrown out of the castle!

One knight, Percival, had the wisdom to ask the right question: “Whom does the Grail serve?” Percival perceived that the Grail’s purpose had to do with serving others and not with enriching oneself. We as Christians already have our “Holy Grail.” Already we have salvation, and not only salvation, but in Christ our heavenly Father has made us his own children and given us an eternal inheritance in his kingdom. But all this is not merely some great treasure for us to consume on our own selfishness.

Belief in Jesus Christ calls for action! Having been blessed with salvation, we are free in Christ to give ourselves as he did—to the compassionate service of humanity! Paul chrysalises the concept for us in what he told the church at Philippi, quoted above. God called us into the joy of his life so that we might be servants one to another, just as Jesus humbled himself and became one of us, sharing with humanity the good things of God.


Heavenly Father, when we consider the model of Jesus and his service to all, set before us as the example for us to follow, we can only bow our heads in wonder. Such service! Such a pattern of life for us to follow! Father, help us in our humble and imperfect quest to emulate Jesus’ service to others. In Jesus’ name we pray.


Study by Joseph Tkach

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