Do I Have a Servant Heart?

I read a difficult Bible passage this past week that has been stuck in my mind. 

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” Luke 17:7-10

In our culture, reading anything about slaves tends to put my hackles up. Slavery is wrong. All men are created equally. We should be kind and considerate to everyone! I find it rather offensive to think about someone owning a slave, making them work out in a field all day and then making them come inside and have no rest and continue to serve their master. Is Jesus saying I should be a slave? That I am unworthy? 

Other Bible verses come to mind.  

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. John 15: 15-16 

Not a servant. Friends. Chosen. 1 John 3:1 says that God loves us so much that we are called sons of God. Reading these other verses I don’t feel like my status with God is that of a lowly slave. 

As I’ve thought about the passage in Luke I’ve realized that it is a good measure of how much of a servant heart I have. How firmly embedded my pride and sense of entitlement are in my very nature. 

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 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: 43-45

Yes, we are sons of God, Friends of Jesus. Chosen. Loved. But we are called to be like Jesus, and Jesus, despite being King of Kings, God, Creator, Ruler of all, he was a servant. And we’ve been called to be like Jesus and serve others. 

The other night I came home exhausted. Right after school I had to take two of my children to a location out West, thirty minutes away, and then after being there an hour and half, had to drive to another part of town to pick up another child from sports practice. I didn’t get home till 6:30pm and I had been driving in horrible rush hour traffic for over an hour. I had expected that my other family at home would have already eaten the supper I had left prepared for them. I anticipated just grabbing a plate of food for myself and being able to relax for a couple minutes. Instead, I walked in the door and found out that everyone else was waiting for me to get home before they ate. Nothing was set out. The table was littered with homework and toys and papers. Mess. I lost it. Had a total hissy fit. Much to the horror of my poor family who were simply anticipating a family meal together whenever I got home. Later, all I could think about was the passage in Luke and how far I was from having a true servant heart. Cause I had been working hard all day, and I wanted to come home and be served. Have some rest. Get some appreciation for how hard I had been working. And yes, there is a time and a place for rest and appreciation. But sometimes, everyone in the family has been working hard, everyone is exhausted, and what the family needs is someone to come in and patiently continue to serve. 

That is the heart I want to have. And sometimes I fail miserably. But I have to realize, having a servant heart is something I need Jesus to do inside of me. It’s not something I can get on my own. I hold to the promise that says,

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

I’m trusting that God will continue to soften my heart and teach me how to serve like Jesus. 

Woe is Me

A couple days ago I was having a particularly difficult afternoon with a particularly difficult child. In a big fit of frustration, I retreated to my room and collapsed in my chair. I was about to reach for my phone and zone out on FaceBook for a minute, but thought, hmm, I think I would do better to pick up my Bible. I opened the Bible to where I had been reading that morning and I got smacked across the head by these verses:

 

7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” Luke 17: 7-10

 

We are unworthy servants, we have only done what was our duty…I don’t know if any of you can relate, but I was definitely having a Woe Is Me moment. Look at poor Esther. She has to deal with all these problems. Poor, poor me. Does anyone see how self-sacrificing I am being? Look at me! I don’t deserve this kind of treatment! 

 

It kind of reminds me of when my kids pull an attitude.

Me: Please do this chore.

Child: Why should I have to do that chore??

Me: Umm, excuse me, did you get crowned Queen/King when I wasn’t looking? Why shouldn’t you have to do this chore? You live here. You do chores. 

 

While I am all about focusing on how we are children of God, God loves us so much, Jesus has given us worth because he died on the cross for us…we are also God’s servants. We are his creation. He created us to do good works (Ephesians 2:10). And Jesus himself called us to be servants (Matthew 20:26). We are in the Kingdom of God, and it’s a kingdom of servants. Jesus being the number one example of servanthood (Phillipians 2:8).

 

Feeling sorry for myself because serving people can sometimes be irritating…this is not an emotion I need to be wallering in. I am just doing my duty. It’s what I’ve been called to do. Serve others. And yes, there is a place for setting boundaries and not being a doormat, but I think I can admit that most of the time that I’m feeling sorry for myself, it’s just because I’m feeling resentful about having to serve. I’d much rather be wearing the crown and be Queen for the day. 

 

There is a song I learned when I was kid, back in the 80’s when Psalty the Singing Psalm Book was a thing. (Look it up if you’ve never heard of him.) The lyrics to the song go like this:

Make me a servant, humble and meek, Lord let me lift up, those who are weak, and may the prayer of my heart always be, make me a servant, make me a servant, make me a servant today.

So, that is my prayer for today, May I be a servant, content to do my duty. Knowing that when I do, I am simply following the example of Jesus.