I want you to serve others.
I want you to place others before the cultivation of your own self.
This is something my Lord has taught me.
As a boy, and a teen, I helped in some ways in my parents’ house. Upon being asked, I took out garbage, shoveled snow, and mowed the lawn. When I could drive, I ran errands for my mother. I served in my parents’ home. But I did not have the heart of a servant. That came in the spring of 1970.
That was when I got saved. Jesus was now my Master, and I was his apprentice. I was enrolled in the Lifetime School of Jesus. This was, and remains, exhilarating to me!
Part of me was anticipating doing big things for Jesus. Jesus, on the other hand, was teaching me small things. While in God’s eyes it is no small thing to be a servant, a servant specializes in small things. Like doing the dishes.
On a Sunday, in the spring of 1970, I sat with my father and mother at our dinner table. Church was over, and we were home, eating the my mother’s delicious home cooking. When we finished, I left the kitchen and went into our family room to watch sports on TV. This was my habit. Little did I know this was to forever change, on that great day in the School of Jesus.
That day, sitting in our family room, God spoke to me. “Go back into the kitchen and help your mother clean up.” I knew this was God, instructing me. I lifted my body off the family room couch, and went back into the kitchen. “Mom,” I said, “let me do the dishes today.”
My parents were raised in a patriarchal culture. Making meals and cleaning up afterwards were things the women did. Much of my mother’s self-worth came from cooking, cleaning, and making the house look good.
“No, Johnny,” she said, “you go back and watch TV.”
“Mom, I’m going to do the dishes!”
I insisted on this! After protesting, she gave in. Little did we both realize that I just advanced in the School of Jesus. I became a servant in my father’s and mother’s house. I consider this one of the greatest things Jesus has ever done for me.
Jesus, my Lord, once said to his disciples, "The Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people."
Above our kitchen sink, where I and Linda wash dishes, is a window. Through this window we see the beautiful pine trees in our backyard. Our bird feeders are there. My mother used to love feeding and watching birds. So do I. Here I am today, like mother, like son. I wash dishes. I do this gladly, with joy and thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
I want you to serve others.
I want you to place others before your own desires.
Just as my Lord Jesus came to serve others, so do I.
I love serving in the name of Jesus!
I place my desires behind the needs of people.
I am learning more and more about servanthood every day.
I am a servant in my church family.
I wash dishes to the glory of God.
When it comes to serving, I take the initiative.
(From my book 31 Letters to the Church on Discipleship)