Four years ago, a columnist by the name of Chip Tsao made a comment in an article calling the Philippines a nation of servants.  It sparked widespread condemnation that culminated into a humble apology of the writer.

Elsewhere, a similar news spread virally in the small Southeast Asian archipelago, praising the Filipinos for their *cough* unrivaled service.

In the first article, Filipinos responded with indignation.  Yet the second, which used different phrases to convey the same claim, was celebrated and spread with heads held high.  When one reads closely what the second article says though, the message becomes evident.  Both articles points out that Filipinos are indeed “servers”… and those who “serve” are servants!

Worse, a recent incident involving the Philippines’ victory over Hong Kong in a football match caused a stir.  With the latter condescending the visiting nation with jeers… being a nation of servants as it were.

Filipinos are among the most gentle people in the world. I have been a guest to many nations and homes, just like anyone else who would read this.  Yet never have I been served better than by a Filipino.  In fact, everywhere I go, especially overseas, my hopes is that I would run into a Filipino to attend to me.  The warmth of a Filipino is unmatched.  Filipinos often go out of their way to make the guest feel great.  Anyone who have stayed in another Filipino’s house would definitely experience it.  Some would even go so far to sleep on the couch in the common area so that the guest can enjoy an air-conditioned room with cushion and blanket.  To Filipinos, such is trivial.  To serve is perhaps a culture thing… and yes, one to be welcomed with heads up high.

Mahatma Gandhi once said that “The weak cannot forgive.  Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” If I may also add, “the weak cannot serve.  Servanthood is only for the strong.”

In this, the Bible concurs.

Jesus called [the disciples] and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord [their greatness] over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your servant— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:25-28

True greatness comes, not when one stands on top of the world’s pedestal but rather when one learns to live life with the courage to do as Jesus does—service.  No other claimants of divinity dared to stoop down and serve humans.  No other claimants of divinity would go so far as to die for man.  For truly, who among the false gods would take condescending compassion to his creation? Why would any of the false gods reduce himself to the level of man to build a bridge from the temporal to the eternal? Such false gods are created in the image of man.  None, except the one true LORD.  One whom in time, every knee will bow, has that strength which none of the false gods had.  Yes, false gods know nothing of genuine love.  Only a real God can dispense love in its maximum.  A love—seen in Christ.

There is nothing to be ashamed of being a servant.  Unless one realizes their sinfulness… and how Jesus offers the road back to God through his death, he will not understand why serving is cool.

Truly, Jesus did not come to lord his kingship over them, even if he had every option to.  No.  He traveled, hungered, was persecuted, and executed… hardly a lorder of position or power or wealth.  Rather, a servant.  One who died, that man may live anew.

To serve… to be a servant… is cool.  Man follows the footsteps of his god.  If one sees money as his god, he will compromise many things to grab hold of it.  When one sees position and power as god, he will spend his life chasing such futile glories.  Yet when man sees God as God, that is, the TRUE God as God, things change.  He follows the footsteps of his God.  Washing the feet of His people.  Serving… and giving his life for the sheep.

There is nothing to be ashamed of as a servant.  Nothing to be ashamed of as a nation of servants.  If Jesus, the Christian God isn’t ashamed to be a servant of all, neither should we.

 

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