A Servant Wannabe
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 'Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2: 1-8 (NIV)
I really wannabe a servant and have a servant’s heart. I do. It is just that so very often my flesh goes into overdrive and the servant’s heart is left behind in the dust of my pride.
Recently the Holy Spirit overwhelmed me with conviction as I found myself in a situation where I had to choose to have a servant’s heart. A woman, who is a somewhat regular customer, came into the pharmacy where I work as a pharmacist. She is not a particularly nice person and has the attitude that others owe her something. She was my “sandpaper person” for the day.
We all have ‘sandpaper’ people in our lives--those whose very presence irritates something within us and rubs us the wrong way. One of the purposes of sandpaper is to remove impurities from the exterior of a piece of wood so that it can be painted or stained. The sandpapering process is difficult, even painful, yet necessary to produce a beautifully finished piece of wood.
It quickly became clear to me that the Holy Spirit was up to something in my heart. This woman walked up to the counter where I stood and began giving me orders. It went something like this. “You need to fax up to the doctor’s office and get them to refill my medicine. You get to work on that and I’ll be back after I see the doctor.” There was no ‘please’ or ‘would you?’ or ‘thank you.’ Just commands.
Immediately I bristled and thought, “Don’t you come in here giving me orders. I’m not your slave.” Thankfully I kept my mouth closed, which is a huge step forward for me in comparison with what might have happened just a few years ago!
Instantly the Holy Spirit hit me with such a wave of conviction that I nearly fell backward. He brought to mind parts of the verses from Philippians 2 that instruct us how to have a servant’s heart. Paul says that we are to have the same love for others that Jesus had for us. He goes on to exhort us to “do nothing out of vain conceit,” “in humility consider others better than yourself,” and “take the nature of a servant.”
“But, Jesus,” I thought, “she doesn’t deserve to be considered better than me. She treats others so poorly.” It was then I was reminded that in no way did I deserve what Jesus did for me when He humbled Himself and came to earth to die on the cross for me.
Yes, I wannabe a woman with a servant’s heart like Jesus. Thankfully, He stands ready to enable me to serve others, but also to forgive me when I fail to have that servant’s heart. On that day, I was reminded that the true measure of servanthood and humility is evidenced by how one reacts when someone treats you like a servant.
Lord, help me have a servant’s heart--a heart like Jesus!