I had a great reminder today of what a servant’s heart looks like. Before I actually jump into that, I want to take a moment to mention one think. As Christ followers, we are all called to be servants of some kind. Jesus modeled it. He told His disciples, and us through them, that we should follow His example and be a servant. In John 13, Jesus is recorded as saying the following in verses 12-17;
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
In washing the disciples feet, Jesus took the lowest of the low positions in Judaism. Home owners would have their servants wash the feet of their guests, but none were provided where Jesus and His disciples were going to have the Passover dinner. Yet none of His disciples were willing to wash each others feet. It too Jesus, their Lord and Teacher to lower Himself and wash their feet. And then He commanded them to do the same; become servants. So in that respect, we are all called to be servants in some way or another.
We are all called to be servants in some way or another.
In Romans 12 (read it here), Paul lays out potential spiritual gifts that Christ followers may receive. One of them is serving. So, it seems that while we are all called to be servants, some of us are actually gifted to serve and are prone to do it in a great way. That’s what I mean by a servant’s heart. And I got to see it in action from two different people today that I hold dear in my life. The best part, if either of them end up reading this, they might actually be embarrassed about being highlighted for their service. They weren’t doing it to be noticed. They were serving because that is their first instinct.
Kelley and I went up to Guadalupe Christian Camp this afternoon for an event that the church at the camp was hosting. It was a great afternoon with good food, good music, and a great message preached by the former manager of the camp. Some people from our congregation here in Carlsbad were there, and we were all able to share lunch together around the same table. The church that was hosting the event was planning on doing all of the cleanup afterward, but Ed had other plans.
He started sweeping around and under the table that we ate at, and asked me if they were planning on just throwing away the plastic table cloths that were on the tables. I let him know that I really didn’t have any idea, but that wasn’t good enough. He sent me to ask the new camp manager, so he could clean up our table as much as possible before moving over to the chapel for the music and message portion of the afternoon. I kind of hung back and just watched after confirming with David, and Ed is the only one that stayed and cleaned up the table that he and his family (and our church family) had eaten at. And he did it to serve, not for any recognition.
While all of this was going on, I went into the kitchen where I saw Bev in action. You see, Bev is Rusty’s wife. Rusty and Bev ran the camp for 40+ years before retiring about a year ago. Bev ran the kitchen over those years, and always wanted to be serving in some way. A year into retirement, where did I find Bev? She was helping clean and put things away in the kitchen. I approached her and jokingly mentioned that even in retirement, she just couldn’t stop serving. She smiled and told me that that is the only place that she feels comfortable.
This conversation with Bev brought back a memory from last March. At a retirement party in honor of Rusty and Bev, not only did Bev make some of her world famous cinnamon rolls, but when it was time for the desserts to be served, Bev was right there in the serving line passing out cinnamon rolls to anyone that wanted one.
(Back row, left to right: Me, Rusty, Ed; Front row, left to right: Kelley, Bev, Dorie)
These two people, Ed and Bev, are the embodiments of servants at heart. They are great examples of how to try to follow Jesus’ example. I long to be a servant like that. My spiritual gifts are in other areas, so serving in that capacity doesn’t come second nature to me. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t find ways to serve. May we all find ways to serve, and not for praise from other people. Bev and Ed, thanks for reminding me what a true servant looks like!