Delight to Serve:
Have you ever experienced a waiter who each time you asked for a refill or extra napkins, he responded as though you were interrupting his evening? As though you were bothering him? We’ve all experienced some version of this, and can all agree that it is gut-wrenchingly annoying. Why is it so frustrating? Because, the waiter clearly doesn’t recognize his role as a servant. Somewhere along the way, he began to think that serving was someone else’s job.
Christians are called to serve. Yet, I notice far more Christians finding ways not to serve rather than delighting in the opportunity. This takes various forms like the secretary who always finds a way to transfer the call to someone else because she doesn’t want to deal with it. Or, the yard maintenance man who cuts corners every chance he gets. What is the mindset of this secretary and landscaper? It is to do what’s best for “me” instead of asking “how do I best serve?” It is delighting in one’s self rather than delighting in loving God and His world.
This kind of thinking is fundamentally upside-down and antithetical to the Christian command to consider the interest of others above your own. The attitude of one who delights to serve echoes the Psalmist who writes, “Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” (Psalm 100:2) It is with this attitude that we should approach all of life. If you take orders at Burger King, recognize the opportunity you have to serve customers and delight in fulfilling your task with excellence.
If you are in management, see your role less as an order giver, and more as a servant leader. Serve your employees, and make every effort to demonstrate that you are not above any task.
Pastors, be reminded that you are called to model service to your people, and this service goes beyond the pulpit. Do not be found complaining that too few people serve in your church when your example is that of passionately pontificating on Sunday morning, yet nowhere to be found, and not to be disturbed the rest of the week. Is this really the shepherding of souls?
Seminaries, IMB, NAMB, State and Local Conventions, recognize your role as servants to the churches of the convention and delight in the task you’ve been given. Beware of making dictatorial decisions that are handed down to the churches you are called to serve. Make every effort to thank the churches of the convention for their ministry and support, and ask “how can we better serve you?”
Chick-Fil-A has modeled this well over the years, and for that I’m quite proud; but I’m embarrassed that they put most Christians and Christian leaders to shame as persons who delight to serve. When was the last time you meaningfully asked “How can I serve you?” and finished with, “It’s my pleasure”?
Approach every person and every task with this in mind, “How do I best serve?” Sometimes, the best expression of service is a loving confrontation of sin, sometimes it is volunteering to keep the kids so your wife can take a break, sometimes it is missing the newest Office episode because a friend needs a sympathetic ear, sometimes it is spending more time at home so you can get to know your neighbors.
“Lord, remind us to wrap a towel around our waist and delight to wash the feet of saints and sinners. For your Gospel rings more loud and true when proclaimed from the lips of those whose lives demonstrate a love for and service to God’s world.”