Who’s Serving Whom?
Here we are in the fourth week of our 52 Weeks of Giving—which consequently also marks the start of Advent—so I want to take a brief moment and reflect before moving forward. So far we’ve been challenged to write letters to our troops and send care packages, donate food and Thanksgiving dinners to those in need, and help pray for the healing of a little boy. That is more than many people give all year, so even if you have not participated in every challenge, congratulations! You are doing awesome work! I know how difficult it is to live a charitable life, so if you are someone new to giving, I encourage you to start slowly—but the thing is to start! I promise there are blessings that come with a generous heart. I’ll speak more to that in a moment, but first I want to I want to introduce you to my friend Amy.
Amy is a wonderful Christian woman, a fantastic wife and mother, and from what I’ve read in many, many status updates (but have yet to experience personally, darn 300 mile separation) she is a fabulous cook! But although each of these qualities stands out, the one thing that everyone can say about Amy is that she is one of the most generous people they know—not only monetarily, but also with her time and her talents. Amy truly takes to heart what it means to be a follower of Christ, and this holiday season, she and her family are setting out on a special mission to put their focus on giving and not receiving. Click here and take a moment to read what she says in her blog. I am excited to follow her and her family on this journey!
Now, onto this week’s challenge. Those who know me know that I tend to make friends wherever I go. For a little perspective, my family and I were on vacation in a touristy area where I noticed some friends who happened to be visiting too. I started talking with them while my husband—oblivious to the fact that I had stopped—kept walking with the kids. I caught up with him and teasingly asked, “Didn’t you see so & so? Or did you think I was just striking up a random conversation with complete strangers on a bench?” He chuckled, stating how he hadn’t noticed much of anything—starting with the fact that I had stopped—but given how well he knew me, he would have guessed it was the latter situation—which much to my chagrin, is a pretty accurate assessment of the way I operate.
You see, I like to smile and converse with others. It comes naturally for me. I have gotten to know names and back stories of more checkout clerks, waiters, doormen, cab drivers, garbage men, and others that most people don’t ever think to recognize. I know how easy it is to view these individuals as people who are supposed to serve us—it is part of their job descriptions after all, isn’t it?
Jesus talks a lot about servants and serving. The one thing that strikes me is that although others serve Him—like the sinful woman who washes His feet with her tears (Luke 7:36-50)—He provides a greater service by recognizing others, forgiving their transgressions and telling them they are loved. We are all called to be servants. So I pose the question, how do we serve those tasked with serving us?
Now, I’m not implying that in a restaurant you should start bussing tables or running over to grab food from the kitchen—I’m pretty sure that would ruffle some feathers—but why not ask your waiter how his day is going? When he tells you his car was rear ended on the way into work, show genuine concern and tell him you hope his day gets better. Smile at the checkout clerk—try and sympathize if she tells you how exhausted she feels. Thank your garbage man for being there every week. Sure it’s his job, but how hard is it to offer respect and thanks to an individual who is taking that task off your hands? After all, you could be hauling your own trash to the dump. The one thing I find most of us are searching for in life is someone to tell us, “You are important and I respect you.” I realize that it is not easy for everyone to strike up random conversations with others like I do, but I am confident that everyone is capable of smiling and saying thank you to those who serve them.
So, your Week 4 Assignment is to make an effort to smile at others, say hello to people you might generally ignore, and offer respect to those around you, especially those serving you. If we can just take the focus off of our ever-present what’s-in-it-for-me attitudes, and appreciate how others are already serving us, think of how much happier everyone could be. That’s not too difficult a task, is it?
Oh, and as far as those blessings I spoke of earlier, I can say without hesitation that when I’ve taken time to let others know I care and thank them for their service, their service to me becomes even better. Now don’t misunderstand, I never expect anything in return for my friendliness, but it certainly is nice to be offered a couple extra egg rolls with dinner, or an umbrella when I didn’t have one for my half mile walk to the ferry. Just remember, you never know when or how a servant may choose to bless you in return for your kindness!
No Take it Further this week. Just go out and be kind to one another!
Need even more inspiration? Read the story of the NY Police Officer who bought a $100 pair of boots for a homeless man! It definitely made my heart happy!
Blessings to you this Advent!
***I do want to caveat this post, though, with the disclaimer that you should never provide any personal information to strangers and if anything makes you feel uncomfortable, leave that situation immediately and call for help if necessary. Be smart and be safe!***