Fun fact: I waited tables in high school and college and even a little after college when I decided my degree didn’t matter and I wanted to be an actress. True story for another day. :)
And I don’t mean to brag, but I was a great waitress. Not an ounce of sarcasm there. I really was good. I loved it. I loved that it was fast paced and lots of things all at once. I loved exceeding expectations and providing excellent service. I was funny and engaging with my tables. It came easy to me and I loved it, so I was very good at it.
And honestly, when I am in similar situations today, I feel the same way. I’m not taking orders and collecting tips but my husband and I love hosting at our home. I love having a house full of people and providing a great experience for them. I love serving them.
I also love my role of serving at our church.
I have a history of enjoying self-less serving.
Now, I know what you must be thinking. I know what I would be thinking if I were reading this, “Dang! She sure does think a lot of herself! Ever heard of humility?”
Don’t worry, I really don’t and yes, I have.
I just think it’s interesting that all of the above is true yet when I see an empty Kleenex box in my home, that someone took the last tissue out of and left empty, even though we are stocked with 6 months worth of Kleenex boxes, when that happens, I want to kick everyone out of the house and live alone until I die. I am not selfless. I don’t think of serving anyone. Maybe serving them a piece of my mind. OR A LAMINATED STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTION SHEET ON HOW TO CHANGE AN EMPTY KLEENEX BOX!!
Oh and don’t even let me see a new roll of toilet paper left sitting on the old roll that’s still in the holder! I will burn this place down.
See what I mean?
What happened?? Where did my gift of hospitality and my love for selfless serving go?
I’ve discovered something about myself that I suspect (or maybe I hope!) is true of others as well:
It's easier for me to serve a stranger or acquaintance than it is for me to serve my closest family members.
And I don’t know about you but in the course of the next week (and really through the end of the year) I am going to have lots of extra time and opportunities to serve those closest to me.
I think I (or we?) struggle for a few different reasons. See if you find yourself in the list:
* We are keeping score and there needs to be balance. I don’t want to serve them more than they serve me. They need to do a few things for me first and THEN I’ll do something for them.
* What about me? Who is looking for and doing the little stuff for me? Why do I have to do it all?
* I don’t want to be taken advantage of, taken for granted or not respected because I just do everything.
* I’m just tired. I don’t care if nobody does it but I don’t want to have to mess with it.
I get all of those. I’ve thought all of those and more. I think they are very natural, human things to think. There is just one big problem.
"You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?" 1 Corinthians 3:3
You and I, if we belong to Christ, are not mere humans anymore.
We are more. We are called to more and we are equipped for more.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Selfless serving opportunities abound this time of year. Many times we focus on doing lots of those for strangers or people we don’t know very well. I am not suggesting we stop doing that.
I am just suggesting we bring some of the love closer to home as well.
I know we can. I know I can. It just takes a shift in our perspective.
And really, it starts with yesterday. Yesterday, our devotional was all about thanksgiving and gratitude.
We start by reminding ourselves how grateful and thankful we actually are for those closest to us.
They aren’t perfect. Neither are we. (I know we know. But sometimes a reminder is helpful. ;))
But God calls us to love them and serve them just the same. He was our perfect example. He served everyone so well. And he continues to serve you and I. Even on the days we are a hot mess. And even on the days we want to seek justice and retribution for empty Kleenex boxes. Just me? Ok. Well, on whatever YOUR worst day looks like. He still wants to serve you then.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14
“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” Matthew 20:26-27
Jesus served. He was selfless. And he calls us to do and be the same.
Just like we are doing with our gratitude and thanksgiving, if we are intentional, we can choose to be selfless and look for serving opportunities.
But it's hard!
I know. When did being hard become a reason not to do something though?
I believe in us. I believe we can serve with joy this season. Just remember:
* Jesus served us first and he continues to serve us even though we don't deserve it.
* He has called us and equipped us to serve as well. We can do it!
* Choosing to be grateful for those we serve will make it easier for us to serve them well.
* Changing the Kleenex box only takes about 30 seconds and someone will be grateful you did. (ok, that one might just be for me.)
Happy selfless serving!