Most people love the idea of serving…until they have to serve! Then the vibe often changes. That’s because serving is inconvenient and costly. Servants don’t live for themselves but rather for a cause that is bigger than themselves. They understand that the thing they’re part of is far greater than the part they play. It’s not about recognition. Nor is it anything to do with adulation. It’s about quietly & humbly getting on with it whether you are appreciated or not. This is the essence of a servant heart.
A few years ago, I was speaking at a church on a very hot summer’s evening. When I arrived, I noticed that my car had a flat tyre. Since the service was nearly about to start, I decided I’d just repair it afterwards. When I walked into the venue, I happened to chat to one of the young guys on welcome team and in a passing remark, I jokingly mentioned about my flat tyre. He immediately asked me ‘can I have your car keys?’ Now, I wouldn’t ordinarily accede to such a request – but in that moment I just said ‘sure’ and handed them over. As the worship started, I remember breaking into a cold sweat and thinking to myself ‘will the car still be there afterwards?’ Ha!
Anyway, after the service, the guy came to me and said ‘all fixed!’. He said ‘I’ve replaced your tyre so you can drive home.’ I was absolutely blown away by his act of incredible kindness and I expressed my sincere thanks to him. When I got to the parking area, not only had he replaced the flat tyre but he had washed and cleaned my car to the point that it looked as if it was glistening in the evening sun. This guy had gone the extra mile. He’d missed the service, was inconvenienced and worked through stifling heat – all because his heart was to serve. He didn’t complain or moan about it. It was his total and utter delight. Today, that guy is a leader whose significance and influence is growing both in the UK and around the world. I think I understand why.
Servants don’t have favourite tasks. They just get on with doing whatever needs to be done. The Holy Spirit finds it easy to work with people like this. They don’t make demands. They’re not diva’s. They don’t cry out for attention. They don’t complain and huff when an unglamorous job needs to be done. They just get on with doing it. People may not notice but God does. And that’s the point. As Christians, everything we do is for the audience of One.
Servanthood is not a task. It’s a state of heart. We are never more like Jesus than when we are serving others. So let’s embrace the inconvenience, pay the price and take delight in serving, even if no-one ever notices. Remember, God notices. We are living for the audience of One.