servant or waitress?

Every day at 4pm, Mrs K walked down our street- her white uniform crisp, her white shoes spotless, every hair in place, her black apron neatly rolled up and carried like a baton in her right hand. She worked at a local restaurant- a waitress for the dinner shift. At night, she reversed her direction and headed home.  Done for the day.

Back there on vacation one summer, 4pm came and there she was.  I was sitting on the porch thinking about the past year.  It had been a disappointing year, a tough year.  More backwards, than forwards. I found myself wondering if we had done more of this, or more of that, would the results be different?  So much of me wanted to have the predictability and closure that punching a clock has.  I wanted to know at the end of a day, I was done.  I finished.

photo by Alan Light via wikimedia commons

As desirable as the idea is, it’s the wrong picture for serving God. It’s not what you see in the Scriptures.  The word Jesus used to describe Himself was servant.  Not waiter. Doulos. The Greek word means slave- a person for whom there was never a time clock, nor personal time. A servant is available at the master’s bidding, to do whatever is needed.  Jesus lived that out and taught it.

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.  NASB Mark 10:45

He served from a heart of love- love for the Father and love for us.  I take encouragement from the fact that Jesus said, near the end of His life, “I have completed what You gave me to do.”  He drew His instructions and His strength for completing His tasks from the Father.

So, what was I looking for in the closure, in that waitress picture?  Some sense that I was focusing in the right places? When I looked back at the year, I realized there was more of myself than anything else in that desire.  I wanted things neat and tidy, finished.  I wanted control of my schedule.  Ministry is not that way, nor are people.  We are messy, and He loves us right there in the midst.

As I was sitting on the porch that day, I had to ask myself, “Am I a servant, or a waitress?”  Who is in control?  God or me?  Will I only serve when it is convenient for me? 

Being available for His use is more about loving Him than getting things done.  Will I be available because I love Him more than anyone or anything else? Will I listen for His voice?  run when He calls?  take action when He whispers?  That is the servant heart that Jesus modeled.

 

Linking up with Faith-filled Fridays

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