About two months ago I taught a workshop on prayer in the sanctuary of a church and I felt the Lord telling me to sit down for the presentation. I sat the entire time. Last week I taught a workshop on prayer in a conference center and I felt the Lord telling me to take off my shoes. I had bare feet the entire time. As I have been thinking about the similarities of these two incidents—workshops on prayer and positions of humility—I was only making the connection between the type of teaching I was doing with the position that I had been commanded to be in. I simply thought God was trying to communicate that teaching on prayer required that I demonstrated the humility necessary when praying. While I still believe this is true, I began to get a bigger meaning of those two acts when thinking of my service for the past two years to my mother.
Recently, in addition to the errands, phone calls and bill payments, she asked me to cut her toenails and scrub her heels. In essence, she wanted me to give her a pedicure. My mother has NEVER been prone to get pedicures and probably has had less than 10 in her entire 71 years. She would cut her toenails, but never thought much of the importance of grooming her feet beyond that. You may remember me writing about how the Lord spared my mom’s life several times after extreme health issues. After a long hospital stay and rehabilitation work, she is alive and physically stable, but her body is weak. Because of her feeble condition she can’t reach to cut her nails or otherwise really groom her feet. So when she asked me to do so I KNEW she was really in need. I got my tools and headed to her place.
I got on my hands and knees, even laid on my side to get to parts of her feet that I couldn’t reach (because she couldn’t lift her leg to make her feet easily accessible). So as I laid and kneeled I soaked, scrubbed, cut, shaved, smoothed, dried, creamed and polished various parts of her feet. All the while, we talked and laughed, strengthening our bond. Four hours later, even with more work to do, she and I were pleased with the outcome; she was grateful and my heart felt good. And after those times of teaching on prayer, my heart felt good just like when I cared for my mom’s feet. The obvious connection to all these incidents is humility, which is the message of service, which is the message of love.
No matter the act of service—whether teaching in front of crowds or helping the weak, like the elderly or your own children—humility is required. Too often many of us may do an act of service and murmur and complain about what we are doing. We tell the person how we hope they are grateful for what we are doing, mention that we had to rearrange our schedule to help them, keep looking at our watch, huff, roll our eyes or something else like that. We constantly remind them of how great we are for helping them and how pitiful they should feel for having to have us help them. This is not loving service but is lording service which is not really love at all (Mark 10:42-45). The key to love is humility and humility shows in service to others.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:4-8).
Our Lord Jesus, God Himself, served us willingly and because of Him, our world is eternally better. Let us seek to make someone else’s world better by following Christ and loving others with humility. They will be grateful and your heart just may feel good.
Take a Risk Challenge: This week when you serve someone, commit to doing so without murmuring and complaining but with humility.
My One Thousand Gifts List
Listening to Selah in the early morning
Praying with Flynn, Joshua and Nate
A visit to Nana’s and helping her feel at ease using her alarm system
Carla forgiving me for forgetting to edit her blog post
An early evening family nap
Receiving an unexpected email from LaSonjia telling me of her admiration of me as a woman of God
A Spirit-filled and fulfilling conversation with a friend
Watching The Wiz with the boys
Lunch at Leo’s Coney Island with the family
Having a kind waitress