When my husband, Cam, and I were still single, we worked at the same fast food restaurant. My memory is certainly not my strongest trait, but one of the memories I have from that time is a conversation between Cam and one of our fellow coworkers. Cam had done something generous and kind for her, and she asked him why he did things like that.
His reply: “Because I’m a servant.”
“I wish you wouldn’t say that,” she retorted, “You’re not a servant.”
The thing is, he IS a servant.
I came from a pretty chaotic home, so I didn’t learn about following Christ authentically until later. I was very selfish early on in my relationship with Camron. I had some issues to work through, and was a control freak and very paranoid that our relationship was holding on by a fragile thread: one that I feared would break at a moment’s notice. Of course, that attitude didn’t just taint our marriage relationship. The selfishness permeated every aspect of my life. Now that my husband and I have spent about a decade together, I’ve calmed down a bit. That said, I am still SO very far from perfect. I don’t think I’ll ever get there, this side of heaven.
My journey through servanthood has been a rocky one, filled with many starts and stops. Sometimes what I think is servanthood is really me just thinking I’m better than everyone else because I’m SO humble. (I’m PRETTY sure that’s not how it works. Haha!) I’ve actually volunteered to do things, then saw something I deemed more exciting, and ditched the behind the scenes work to be in front of everyone. It wasn’t until I was officially asked not to return to the behind the scenes work that I realized what I was doing.
Learning from other servants
My momma-in-law knows a lot about serving. It seems she’s made it into an art form, and everyone around her knows it. She constantly thinks of others. She actively looks for a need and then fills it, and all of her grandchildren (and most of her adult kids, too) have gone to her at one time or another, seeking help or advice. She’s generous with her time and doesn’t consider time spent with others a waste. She follows Jesus in the way she takes care of those around her. I want to follow her example, and ultimately, Christ’s example.
Servanthood is one of the least understood gifts the Lord has given us. Even other Christians will sometimes balk at it. My momma-in-law reminds herself that it’s better to do what the Lord says and be told, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” (see that? Don’t miss the word “servant” there) than be told by the Lord that there was something we were supposed to do, yet we didn’t do it. There are some really cool lessons we can learn from serving, about ourselves, about others, and about God. Our service to others should be a reflection of our service to the Lord.
I suck at serving sometimes. I’m going to keep trying, though, because I know God wants me to.
What about you? How can you serve others? Do you have any stories to share where people have tried to discourage you from serving? And how can I serve you?