True Servanthood: Priscilla Shirer
. . .and Samuel said, “Speak, for thy servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10
Now that I am a mother of a small child, I know how it feels to need real help. I was so grateful when I first came home from the hospital after delivering Jackson to have food brought to my home from gracious members of my church for about a month. I was so thankful that my home was cleaned and well taken care of by my husband. I could not have been more excited then to have my son’s god-mother nearby seeking to help any way that she possibly could. Recovering from a C-section delivery, not sleeping through the night and nursing a hungry child every three hours was taking its toll. The help was needed and greatly appreciated.
Now that I have experienced new motherhood for myself, I have a different outlook on how to help others. I used to be the kind of friend who would call, offer my well-wishes and very sincerely offer my help. I would say, “If you need anything, please call”. The only problem with that was that if the poor sleep-deprived mother did need something she would be too delirious to actually pick up the phone and remember my phone number. I must admit, on occasion, I was counting on that. I said I wanted to help but sometimes I was very busy or consumed with other things and didn’t really have the time. In other instances, I did have the time but I was hoping that what was asked of me wouldn’t require too much energy and fit into a certain parameter of expectancy. I wanted to help but in the way that I wanted to help! I offered my assistance but only according to my desires.
Those days of offering pseudo-assistance under the disguise of genuine concern are over. Now, I am serious. In fact, I am so serious that I rarely tell someone to call me if they need anything. Let’s be honest, how often do we actually call someone to wash and fold our dirty laundry or come scrub our floors for us. These days, instead of offering, I just show up and DO! Most often, I will choose the most menial task in that new mom’s house and dive in. I will clean a bathroom, fold clothes or mop a floor. Whatever needs to be done I am willing to do it. I have been there, honey! I know what a blessing it is to wake up for the three am feeding and go into a kitchen with a spotless floor that wasn’t cleaned by you! I have experienced the blessing of having someone watch my little one in the other room for just a few hours so that I could have an uninterrupted nap.
Being a mom has made me a servant. It has taught me that sometimes menial tasks are the most needed and appreciated. It has taught me how to help out in whatever way that I can. Isn’t that what motherhood teaches us in so many different ways? It makes us willing to do whatever is necessary regardless of the way that we feel. When little Jackson spits up or needs a bath, I don’t always feel like doing it but motherhood makes a real servant out of you. Those of us who have children are at our baby’s mercy! If they want to play, then we play. If they want to eat, then we feed. If they want to cry, then we console. If they make a mess, we clean it up! We are servants and most of the time we enjoy it! I believe that God is looking for His true servants. True servants are those who offer their service to Him with no strings attached. Not just people who claim to want to do what He asks but those who are willing to dive in, head first, no matter what the task may be. What good are pseudo-servants who seem to be sincere in their desire to serve Him but have hopes in the back of their minds that He will not ask them to do something that they don’t particularly care to do. He is looking for those who are serious about doing whatever it is that He says, regardless of how menial the task may be.
Servants trust their master so completely that they are willing to put their own comfort on the backburner to meet his wishes. True servants are even willing to do life-threatening things to spare their master’s life. They will jeopardise their own safety and well-being in order to make sure that the affairs of their employers are well taken care of. You’ve read the ancient tales of the king’s cupbearers – their sole responsibility was to taste food and drink before it touched the lips of royalty. Any harm that these substances would cause, happened to them first. And they were willing to put their lives on the line to show their loyalty to their king.
What shows the love and devotion of a true servant so much more is not that he will do the big things for his master, but rather that he will, without complaint, do the small things for him. If I were a servant to some earthly royalty I think I would be willing to do the big things. That’s what I would be paid to do. But I readily admit that it may become frustrating when my list of things to do went from what I considered meaningful and worth-while tasks to menial mundane tasks. In Biblical days, the lowest servant was instructed to wash the feet of guests as they entered into his master’s home. If that were my charge, I would surely become frustrated and tell the guests to wash their own feet! If my master asked me to run his bath water, fix his plate for dinner or lay out his pajamas before bed, my attitude wouldn’t be one of complete cheer. I would want him to use me to do something more meaningful. But a servant, a true servant, is willing to do anything for the sake of his master. Not just for the tasks that suit his fancy but even for those small, insignificant services that he is instructed to complete.
When Samuel heard the Lord calling, his response was, “Speak Lord, for thy servant is listening”. He presented himself in complete humility and basically implied that no matter what he was asked to do, he would be willing to oblige. Are you a true servant to the Lord? Take a personal inventory. Look deep into your heart and really try to uncover your true feelings about what the Lord asks of you. Do you simply say you are a servant but deep down inside hope that the Lord doesn’t really ask anything of you or are you sincere? Do you serve the Lord with strings attached? I cannot tell you how many times I have told the Lord that I would gladly do what He asks if only He would gladly do for me what I was asking. Are you willing to be obedient to Him even if He doesn’t bless your business, even if your husband doesn’t change and even if your financial situation never improves? Are you willing to become a missionary to some remote country or give up your financial stability to start the ministry He is asking you to?
Are you willing to cheerfully change the diapers one more day and tidy your home with gladness if that is what He has called you to? Are you willing to remain single or accept the fact that you may not have children if that is what He is saying is best for His kingdom agenda? What if, like Abraham, He tells you to sacrifice Isaac? What if, like Moses, He sets you up to do something that you feel ill-prepared to handle? How will you respond if His call sounds similar to His instructions to the virgin Mary; something that is not only hard and impossible but it is going to embarrass you and cause you to be ostracised by your friends and family? Can you and I honestly say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” and truly, without reservation, mean it?