Becoming a wife 9 and a half years ago, one of the first things I noticed about myself was how truly selfish I could be. I wanted to be that sweet wife who would do anything for my wonderful husband but the reality was I was human. I got tired, irritable, and just plain selfish. So when it came time to put my husband first, sometimes it was easy, and other times felt just impossible. I loved him with all of my heart, but to be honest my love was pretty shallow. Three kids later here I am realizing I didn’t have a clue how easy I had it as a newlywed. The reality of motherhood sometimes is a shock to the system. Add interns and just ministry in general and I feel completely overwhelmed. I think the most frustrating part is, most of the stuff I do day in and day out feels so insignificant. So unimportant. I’m the one home changing diapers, making food and washing dishes. Sometimes I feel like a monkey could do it. Other days I’m convinced it’s the best job in the world. On the days when my pride kicks in and I am convinced that this is such unimportant work, I deserve to feel more significant, and I wish I could be doing something a little more impressive, I am reminded that the greatest man to ever walk the face of the earth was a servant. Jesus “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant…” (Philipians 2:7) Jesus was not impressive or significant. His plan to become great was to become the least. “…If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all” it sounds so sweet, pretty and admirable, now let’s apply that to everyday life. It means laying my wants and desires down. It means serving those I love and not complaining, not caring if I get any thanks or help. As I have processed this servanthood idea, I have come to realize three things.
1. I need to check my motives. My desire to please others, or look impressive will never be a significant motivation. I will feel unappreciated or like a failure. Both of these are wrapped up in pride, they make it all about myself. I could choose to serve out of love for people, but what about the days I’m not feeling it, or those I love don’t seem so lovable? My motivation to serve is only unwavering when it’s grounded in my love for God. I don’t need to be appreciated because the reality is I am not worthy of His love. My sacrifice is nothing in comparison to Christ’s sacrifice for me.
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (I John 3:16)
2. I am making an investment. Weather it be my own children or my husband or someone in the ministry. When I serve others “as unto the Lord, ” I am investing my time and love into that person. Investments are risky, you give something valuable in hopes that it will multiply. You have to make yourself vulnerable. If someone isn’t close enough to hurt you, you aren’t close enough to really invest in them. It’ s much safer for me to keep people out of my home and at a distance. They can think I have it all together and I save face. When my home is a revolving door, and (on one specific occasion) a child acted out in front of an audience, I remember feeling bewildered not knowing how to deal with this child. Later on that night my friend thanked me for letting her see that side of our family. It was so refreshing to her to know we all deal with those issues. My husband’s favorite saying is “Safe is Risky.” When you play it safe you risk never making an impact or accomplishing anything of any significance.
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. (Luke 17:33)
3. I am not the only one serving. Some days I feel like I just give and give, and would appreciate a break. The fact is my husband serves me just as much if not more than I do. I have people all over the world serving to make it possible for us to be here. I have friends in my life who make me meals and take my children to help me out. The Lord sends us visitors who help with anything they can. Our family packs bags for us or runs errands for us. It’s what we do. When we are a family we serve each other out of love because our heavenly father did that for us. We show our love for Christ by serving those He has put into our lives.
For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)
If I have any desire to be Christlike in any way it would serve me well to start at the bottom and become “servant of all”.