Pet peeve rant ensuing…
I hate to say this, but sometimes the two words don't go together.
I have had recent experience with this.
A couple of weeks ago, I received a letter.
A letter that necessitated action on my part.
And so, of course, since Murphy rules the world sometimes, the letter arrived after hours, on Friday, so I had to wait all weekend to do something about it.
This is one of my nightmares.
I'm a *get it resolved as quickly as possible or I'm not going to be able to stop
And so, anything that comes to my attention that I can't fix right away, well, it niggles at my mind…
ALL. THE. TIME.
Finally, Monday morning arrived, and I was ready for action.
Evidently, the customer service department was not.
To my great dismay, I could not get past the automated voice system.
I am sorry, but I like talking to a live person!
And usually, I'm able to thwart the system.
Sometimes I'll just keep hitting "0" until Annie Automated gets frustrated with me – (HA – tables turned!) – and transfers me.
Or, sometimes I'll just refuse to press ANY button.
After a handful of repetitions, Annie gets her circuits all twisted – and transfers me.
But this morning, I must have been dealing with Annie's sister, a much savvier and impatient woman named Agatha.
I tried my multiple-0-pushing method.
I tried my sit-and-do-nothing tactic.
All I got was a disembodied voice that said, "We're sorry you're having trouble. Please try calling again later."
And then the call was disconnected.
Unwilling to give up so easily, I actually ended up calling back several times.
Like I wasn't able to fully believe that I was beat.
Until I finally realized how ridiculous it was to keep doing the same thing, with the same futile result, over and over (and perhaps over and over) again.
I finally hunted down another number associated with the company, and tried that.
Imagine my great relief when an automated voice (oh, the irony) told me to wait for the *next available representative*.
That sounded like a person, so I waited.
(Take that, Annie and Agatha…)
For at least 15-20 minutes.
But finally, I was rewarded with a voice.
A real, live, actual, person's voice.
"Can I help you?"
Oh yes indeed, you can.
And, wonder of wonders, this person was actually very helpful (thanks, Nicole!)
When all was said and done, I had spent more than two hours resolving the problem.
Why on earth, you ask?
Let me tell you.
1. Calling "The Hub" to direct him where to find the pertinent paperwork. (I was out of town at the time).
2. Waiting for him to find the proper paperwork.
(This in itself was like negotiating a peace treaty, in two languages):
"Where is it?"
"In that green file in the second drawer in the filing cabinet."
"Ok, give me a minute..."
(Insert the sound of opening drawers, and rustling paper)
"Is it the file that says_______?"
"No, it's the other one."
"In front of that one?"
"The one that says_______?"
"Ok, what do you need?"
"The envelope stapled to the letter."
"The one with my notes on the front."
"The one that says_______?"
"Yes! My hero!!"
(I think you get the picture. No slam on "The Hub" – it's just that I'm the filing person in our household, and I know exactly where things are. Trying to convey that information over the phone was challenging for both of us!)
3. Writing down the information he gave me.
4. Double-checking the details (as I wasn't able to look at it…in person!)
5. Multiple phone calls.
6. Wrestling with Annie and Agatha.
7. Searching on the Internet for alternative customer service numbers to call.
8. A coffee break.
9. One phone call, multiple minutes on hold.
10. Yakking about the problem.
11. Writing down everything that transpired.
12. Double-checking that everything was indeed in order so that I wouldn't have to start this time-wasting, mind-numbing process again!!
Suffice it to say, when the problem was finally resolved (thank you!), it was after lunchtime.
OK, I will officially step down from my soapbox now, but the whole situation got me thinking about service in general.
How is the word service defined?
Service – something done to help, be of benefit, or contribute to the welfare of others; useful labor; to wait on
As believers, we are called to service, right?
Well, actually, the more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that we are called to more – not just to give service to others, but to become servants.
Because God is always more concerned with what we are than what we do.
A servant is a person who is devoted to or guided by something – or, in our case, Someone.
Jesus calls us to follow Him, to follow His example.
And He certainly led the way in teaching us what it means to be a servant.
I think of some important things:
1. Be humble
Jesus purposefully, humbly set aside many of the privileges and power of being God. He deigned to inhabit flesh, condescending to lower Himself to become one of us.
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant…"
(Philippians 2:5-7, ESV)
2. Be unselfish
Servanthood implies an *other-person* orientation in our thoughts and attitudes. It is the intentional act of looking outward, inside of myopically focusing inward.
Jesus was all about other people.
"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Philippians 2:3-4, ESV)
3. Be available
There’s nothing worse than needing help and not being able to find it. Being a servant means being accessible, ready, reachable.
Just like Jesus was.
"'Give to everyone who asks you…Do to others as you would have them do to you.'" (Luke 6:30-31, NIV)
4. Be knowledgeable
Part of being a good servant is knowing the Master – what He's like, what He expects, and how best to accomplish His purposes.
Jesus had a close, intimate relationship with the Father.
Being a good servant to others demands that we also know our Lord well.
"But grow in grace (undeserved favor, spiritual strength) and recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (the Messiah)." (2 Peter 3:18, AMP)
5. Be helpful
This might sound like a no-brainer, but think about it. How often are we inclined to offer advice, point out flaws, do things our way, fix and fiddle, judge and condemn – all in the name of "serving"?
Jesus always took the time to find out what the other person truly needed.
"…give generously to others in need…Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." (Ephesians 4:28-29, NLT)
6. Be patient
Helping others is sometimes very difficult. People can be stubborn, and they can work against our best efforts. They can test us and try us and drive us to distraction.
But Jesus didn't give up on others.
We shouldn't either.
"Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]."
(1 Corinthians 13:7, AMP)
7. Be kind
Have you ever thought about this – Jesus was a gentleman, a gentle man.
His heart was tender and compassionate, merciful and forgiving. There was a kindness in all His dealings.
We will be much more effective when we serve others if we use honey instead of vinegar.
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander…Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:31-32, NLT)
Sometimes it drives me crazy, because I am anything but served well.
I don't want to be like that…
For I am called to follow Jesus.
Called to be a servant like He was.
Called to acts of service to others as a manifestation of my devotion to Him.
I want to do it well.
I want to be humble, unselfish, available, knowledgeable, helpful, patient, and kind.
I want to lose my life for His sake.
And, just for the record, I am totally looking forward to eternity – when the only customer service I'm planning to deal with will be serving the Lord forever...
...alive and IN PERSON!
Are you busy doing acts of service, or learning how to be a servant?
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'...
(by Carly Simon)
"God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another." (1 Peter 4:10, NLT)
"…use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
(Galatians 5:13-14, NLT)
"…we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:35, NIV)
"…one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant." (Luke 22:26, NASB)
"'For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.'" (Mark 10:45, NLT)
"'And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, 'If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.'" (Mark 9:35, ESV)
"'Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.'"
(Luke 6:38, NLT)
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9, NIV)
"If someone…sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion – how can God's love be in that person? Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." (1 John 3:17-18, NLT)
"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'"
(Matthew 25:40, NLT)
"Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel he had around him." (John 13:3-5, NLT)
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