What does that word really mean?
I know we all have a general idea – most of the time, if we’re honest, we think of someone "stooping down" to do something for someone else. We think of self-sacrifice. We think of putting aside what we WANT to do, to do something we SHOULD do.
If you’re like me, you think of Jesus – the ultimate Servant.
And I’m not Jesus…
Can I share a battle I’ve been having lately?
I’ve mentioned on this blog before, that I’m part of a weekly ministry to an assisted living facility called Freedom Village. Every Friday, four of us go and present a "worship service" for the elderly residents. We sing hymns, we pray, we share. My contribution is to prepare a 10-minute message as part of the program.
For the last two months or so, I’ve been having a REALLY difficult time. It’s been VERY hard to get myself up and go.
I’ve got my reasons.
One, our ministry has now moved down to the first floor of the Health Center. And this means that the people that attend are different than they used to be. They’re much more invalid, in much worse condition physically and mentally than they used to be.
My anxieties are being challenged. I have a fear of germs – and I’m seeing some scary stuff.
Two, it’s hard to speak something "relevant" to an audience whose average age is probably in the late 80’s. Many are asleep, several are senile, most are hard of hearing – and to those who are able to listen, what can I say that MEANS anything to them?
After two years, I’m running out of ideas.
Three, there are SO many distractions to overcome. People are wheeled in late all the time. If someone starts coughing, ALL eyes go to that person. Oxygen tanks are rhythmically pumping. The PA system "pages people," and we have to stop in the middle of what we’re saying because it’s too loud to speak over. Last week, they had music piping over the PA system for the first time. I had to give my little "talk" while trying to speak louder than Frank Sinatra singing, "Come Fly With Me" and "My Way!" (I know, a little bit funny - but a lot irritating, to tell the truth...)
This isn’t quite the picture I have in mind when I think about wanting to be a "speaker."
However, does this strike anyone besides me, that I sound like an Israelite whining in the wilderness???
I’ve been struggling…
And I’ve been praying about it – a lot.
So, last Friday I’m at home, getting ready to go. And here’s the conversation I had with Jesus.
"Lord, I don’t feel like going anymore."
"I know, Sharon. But I need to be there, and you’re the only one who can drive Me there."
"But Lord, it’s not easy."
"Yes, being a servant costs something. I know that more than you."
"I don’t know what to say anymore."
"Lord, they scare me sometimes. The stains on their clothes, the way they smell, their bruises and cuts, the things attached to them. It’s hard to touch them."
"Sharon, I touched lepers. It’s the "untouchables" that need to be touched the most."
"But there’s so many distractions, and I don’t know if anyone’s listening."
"Their hearts are. My message never goes out without bearing fruit."
"Oh Lord," I whispered quietly, "I want a bigger audience."
"Do you need a bigger audience than Me? Shine for the Audience of One, Sharon. Shine for ME."
"Oh Lord, then help me be a servant."
"I am. I’m teaching you to be MY servant."
So, I went – feeling better.
At the end of our worship service, I always go and greet each person. I shake their hands, I say their names, I look into their eyes and say how glad I am that they are there…
And last week, one woman, a woman who has never come before, grabbed my hand like a life preserver. Her mind was completely sharp. She thanked me for being there, and for the things I had said. She told me how she had studied "religion" all her life, but didn't really know too much about it. I said to her –
"But, Frances, that’s what’s different about what I believe. It isn’t a religion. It’s a RELATIONSHIP with God."
Her eyes sparkled, her mouth went wide. She looked at me like she had won the lottery. And she thanked me for telling her something she had NEVER heard before (and she’s 90). I wrote down what I had said on a piece of paper for her, and added how this relationship was possible with Jesus – nothing long, just a few sentences about God’s wonderfully "simple" Good News.
She kissed my hand, and asked if she could kiss my cheek – she was so grateful – and I was so blessed.
I don’t share this story to brag on myself. Goodness, NO! I say this only to boast on Jesus! He is so faithful…
And He is teaching me what it means to be a servant.
He’s showing me that He can change my "I don’t want to" into the desires of His heart – and then He makes them MY desires…
The One who washed the feet of twelve dirty disciples, and then died a criminal’s death on an object of shame, is teaching me the glorious privilege of serving HIM.
How is Jesus calling you to be a servant?
Will you go?
After all, you just never know who HE wants to talk to!!
"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)
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"