What is a servant’s heart? How do you know if you have one?
I grew up playing hockey in Detroit, Michigan. Ponds and rinks were fabulous places to skate, pass the puck, enjoy the speed, back and forth, and pressure of a good game between teams on a swift sheet of ice.
Even after college and all most to my 60’s, I played in men hockey leagues and enjoyed it every week. Years ago in Boston I blocked a slap shot one night from an opponent with my foot (my goalie was grateful), and I could not skate anymore. X-rays showed a break and I was on crutches before and after surgery. This affected me in a big way, since we lived in a four-story walk-up in a building with no elevator. I was essentially helpless.
I could not walk, get around our home, barely take a shower, and was out of work for a while. But my wife took care of me. Our kids pitched in too, but full credit to Barbara who literally did everything for me.
Her attitude and actions in waiting on me every day were sterling. I never detected an ounce of anger or resentment toward me for having to sit around so much for so long. She still worked full time, but she put a lot of her life on hold to take care of me with meals, helping me rest, and attending to whatever I needed. Reflecting on Barbara’s care that season caused me to realize what being a servant of Jesus really looked like. I was astounded by her day-to-day love and support as she nursed me back to health before and after the surgery.
Read Philippians 2:1-7.
The apostle Paul has taught me that when we choose to serve and follow King Jesus, we need to remain open to whatever He calls to do on His behalf. He wants us to be His hands and feet and step into the opportunities He may present to us. It may be a roommate who needs help with a project, or a colleague who needs some attention, appreciation, or affirmation.
My folks always said one way to honor them was to keep my room clean and my checkbook balanced. Those practices would honor the Lord, too. God may at times ask us to do something that we would rather not do. Yet it is in those moments when He can work most effectively through us.
I realized through my hockey injury that if Jesus were here with me, He would have done just what Barbara did. He would have waited on me hand-and-foot every day with a joy-filled heart. Consider a quick review of what Paul said in the first few verses of chapter 2 of Philippians: “do nothing out of selfish ambition…consider others better than yourselves…look to the interests of others…your attitude should be the same as Jesus’…taking the very nature of a servant.”
What opportunities has God given you to serve Him by attending to others? How do you respond? With a willingness to serve from a joyful heart or a Grinch-like bad attitude? The reality is how we live is actually an audition for the next life. Will God be able to say to you and me one day the words in Matthew 25:21, “Well done, good and faithful servant?”
Next time you see an opportunity to serve someone, regardless of what it might cost you, imitate Barbara and Jesus, by praying and serving them from a servant’s heart. Live communally. To serve others is to serve Christ.
Love is a verb,
©2020 by Mike Olejarz