Sometimes I think I can’t give any more. It feels as if I’m pulled in a thousand different directions. “Help me here. Now. Give me this. Now. Would you mind? Now. I’m hungry. Now.” And no one ever asks me what I would like. Or if I’m hungry. Or tired. Give, give, give, give, give. Not that the perception of the moment is accurate, mind you, but this is how I ‘feel’ when I’m having a pity-party. Thankfully, it does not happen very often.
Most of my days are filled with insistent calls upon me and I don’t even have little ones around tugging relentlessly at my apron strings. I’m close to the biblical three score and ten and my used-to-be little ones have now given me grand children. My life is instead filled with care-giving to my elderly mama, to a child with special needs, and my dear husband to whom I have been given the role of helper and life-giver. And I’m usually very thankful for the privilege. But some days…
It’s on days like these when I am reminded of a definition of servanthood I once heard. “A true servant is one who doesn’t mind being treated like one.” It is our sinfulness which gives license to think we are such great servants as we groan our way through dutiful acts, deserving of some thanks for our services. When we are not thanked or appreciated according to our expectations, often what we deem as our “gentle, servants’ hearts” are betrayed by another heart, a complaining heart, a frustrated heart, a fickle heart, an untrue heart, a disappointed heart, a heart that served in order to honor self and not to glorify our majestic God.
Romans 12 has been echoing in my mind of late, when I’m weary, when I want to give in to myself. Read it for yourself. Pray through it. Ask God for grace to do it. I know you grow weary too, in the face of the exigencies of life.
Paul tells us we must present our bodies as living sacrifices, dying to ourselves, a “living killing” as one author put it, holy and acceptable to God. He says we are not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. He exhorts us to do our acts of mercy with cheerfulness. Our love is to be genuine, not feigned or counterfeit. We are to love one another with brotherly affection and outdo each other in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, says Paul. Be fervent in spirit. Serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope. Be patient in tribulation. Be constant in prayer.
My heart falls on metaphorical knees before Christ and repents of self-absorption, reminded of how Christ loved me when I was lost and unlovely, and very demanding; how He died the death I deserve; thinking of how He promises to never leave me or forsake me; how He welcomes me to His throne of grace for the umpteenth time. I ponder how He washed His haughty disciples’ feet as a vivid lesson to them and to us to meet the needs of others in true servant form. Imagine. The King of the universe on His knees, gently cleaning sweaty, smelly, filthy feet from the routine walk of messy living. 12 pairs. One of them hated Him. Jesus does this for me every day and for you, if you are His. In the remembering, in the confession, joy returns. Strength for the daily-ness is renewed. Perspective is re-ordered.
Dear Sister, let us be faithful in lovingly serving others–our husbands, our children, our friends, strangers in our paths, especially when there is seemingly nothing to be gained in return. After all, Jesus told us that He, God in flesh, came to serve, not to be served, and I am to be like Him. Why do I ever think I am entitled to more? Let us not grow weary of doing good, says Paul, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Our reward is heavenly. Lift your eyes above earthly cares and disappointments. Someday it will be His eyes you will see, so very clearly. Serve Him faithfully now.