I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. (John 13:15)

I hadn’t expected to learn a lesson in humble servanthood when I babysat the children during the Easter pageant rehearsal. But a powerful lesson it was—courtesy of a donkey. A live donkey for Jesus to ride on seemed like a great idea. But just before going into the sanctuary for rehearsal, right on the foyer carpet, the donkey lifted its tail and . . .

One of Jesus’ last lessons before His death was that greatness is found in serving others. But His object lesson taught something more. He wasn’t above tackling even the humblest tasks, and He wanted His followers to know they never should be either. No task should be beneath us if another is in need of the service.

The surprise at that rehearsal was who cleaned up the donkey’s “accident.” Not one of the janitors or even the animal’s owner. It was the senior pastor who, with merely a light joke for comment, quietly slipped away, grabbed towels and cleaner, and got down on his knees. I suddenly understood that service that elevates isn’t found in the easy stuff we do for others. There’s little meaning in that. It’s getting down in the muck and doing what really needs to be done for someone. At that instant, as he scrubbed up after a donkey, my pastor became a few notches greater, and I witnessed a vivid portrait of Christ.

Today, pick one task someone else doesn’t want to do, and do it for them.

Diane Gardner lives in northern California. She enjoys oil painting, theater, community festivals, and quiet evenings at home.