Pam and I ate lunch yesterday at a local restaurant with some dear friends. Facilitating this long lunch was an awesome waiter/server. The server was very attentive and anticipated our needs before we had to ask. He did this gently without being overbearing. He never disrupted our discussion or laughter and seemed to engage us when there was a brief lull in our discussion. He always asked questions that were not superfluous but right on point according to our needs in rhythm with our discussion.
He was such a good server that we asked him a bit about himself. Come to find out, he had been the Manager of the restaurant for fifteen years and decided to move back to the wait staff. We asked “Why?” His wife and he have four children. One of the younger boys is autistic needing a lot of personal attention. His wife, whom he stated a couple of times how good a person she was and how proud he was of her, is in the highlight of her career. Reflecting on the needs of his wife and his autistic child, he volunteered to move from the Manager to the Wait Staff in this restaurant. This gives him much more time to help his wife and be attentive and focus on his needy child. The welfare and future of that child means he needs a lot of time and attention from a parent. Our waiter raised his hand and volunteered. This waiter has the heart of a servant willing to be in the background waiting on someone attentively who has needs, and he did it sacrificially. He took care of us so well because he has the heart of a servant.
Are we willing to humble and submit ourselves to be out of the limelight serving others, even those we may not want to serve? I am not talking about serving robotically to place a checkmark in a box to let others know how Godly we are. I am talking about being attentive, not being disruptive, focused on building that person up whether we like them or not. This could be an inconsiderate spouse; a defiant, wild child; a rude, unkept neighbor; or hard charging, ungrateful boss. If you have a heart of servant, you look for ways that you can serve as Christ served you even when others have not been mindful and sensitive towards you.
The following verses are the heart of a servant:
Philippians 2:3-5,7, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…(who) made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.”
Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Do you have the heart of a servant?