"as one who serves"

I wrote this in a discussion earlier this year, and came across it yesterday:

Too often I think we set ourselves an ideal of service that keeps us in the role of benefactor, a well-respected role, a role of relative control...
I think this is where our service clearly departs from the cross, from the example Jesus set. When our "serving" elevates us rather than humbling us. It brings to mind these words of Jesus:
"The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors.

"But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves." (Luke 22.25-27)

What does it mean to be "as one who serves"? We commonly use phrases like "public servant" or "servant leadership," but these people and the authority they wield and the respect they get looks very different from an actual servant. We may put the poor person at a table (at a soup kitchen, for example), but then we decide how much they get to eat and when they have to leave--is this how a servant acts? And we get honor for our benevolence--does a real servant get treated like that? Real servants are like a waiter in a restraurant, or a cleaning person, or like Jesus washing feet.

I'm continuing to seek ways to serve that do not put me in control. That are lowly, not honored. That do not put me above the one I'm helping, do not make me their "benefactor," do not make them feel like beggars. I need to make myself low, so I can serve as a peer, a brother. This is the kind of service Jesus demonstrated, a servanthood that is just like the cross, "laying down our life" for one another.