Serving With the Right Heart

Serving Others Unseen – Tamara Letter

Core scripture: “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” (Mark 9:35)

Message: The mere suggestion of it repulsed me.  No.  Not a puppy!  Watching it for an entire week?  Are you kidding me?  We already have two dogs!  I politely expressed my distaste for the idea to my wife over the phone.

“It’s just for a few days,” she pleaded with me.  “We can kennel her during the daytime while you are on your Zoom meetings.”

“I don’t know, hon,” I wavered.

Well, I thought I put an end to the idea, but the next thing I know, Roxy bounded into our family.  We were watching her for a few days while her family was getting their floors redone.  Roxy’s family went to our church, and they needed to get the dog out of their house for the week.

Roxy promptly introduced herself by peeing on our wood floor.  Hey, at least it wasn’t the carpet.  I rolled my eyes and mopped up the puddle with an old towel.  Right as I finished tossing the towel in the laundry room, commotion erupted from the family room.

“Roxy, no!” my eight-year-old screamed.

Our three-legged dog, Waldo, was starting to growl as Roxy pawed the floor in front of him, wanting to play.  This went on all night.  Roxy christened the floor three more times, and our other 80-pound foster dog, Luke, had to be kenneled the entire afternoon.  He wasn’t enjoying Roxy’s … uh … enthusiasm.

It went on like this for a day or two.  I was starting to lose my sanity.  Something had to change.  I went to the Lord in prayer the next morning, quieting my anxious heart.  Before I could even utter a word, God began to speak truth to me.

Why are you feeling this way?  You are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to serve.  What is so wrong with helping someone in need?  Did I not send my Son to model that servant leadership for you to follow?  Change your heart. 

It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but I needed to hear it.  I asked the Lord for forgiveness and did my best to take on a different attitude.  Amazing how changing your perspective can completely turn your day around.

That morning, I volunteered to take Roxy on a walk.  She simply needed to get her puppy energy out!  Plus, it was a great opportunity for me to get some exercise as well.  Glass half full, right?  It didn’t matter that she pinballed from side to side on the sidewalk, jerking the leash.  We had fun!

Suddenly, Roxy wasn’t so much a burden; she was a blessing.  She added a bit of spice to our family for a few days, and before we knew it, the week was over.  It was time for Roxy to go home.  Our friends from church were very thankful, and Roxy was kind enough to pee on our floor one last time as her mommy walked through the door.  She just couldn’t contain her excitement!

Jesus models this type of servant leadership so well on the evening of the Last Supper.  After humbling Himself and washing His disciples’ feet, Jesus says, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15).

That makes me wonder … whose feet need to be washed around me?  Washing feet can sometimes be messy.  Imagine how grimy the disciples feet were that day.  Much the same, our serving might get a little messy.  Cleaning up dog pee.  Stuff like that.

But do you know what?  It is all worth it.

Challenge: How could you serve someone this week?  Pray about it and serve with a thankful heart, not expecting anything in return.

Scripture: Read John 13.  How does Jesus model serving here?  Does He do it begrudgingly, or does He do it with a different heart?  How can we use this as an example to serve in our own lives?

Prayer: Lord, place inside me a servant’s heart that longs to help others.  Amen.

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