As Christians we are called to serve others and to think of others before ourselves. But the world teaches something different. To the world, it’s “all about me.” The Ruffles commercial tells you to “get your own bag.” The kids in the Trix commercial won’t let the poor Rabbit have any of their cereal. The world asks what will we get for our service, what’s in it for me.
Last night I was the server for our table of eight women at the women’s retreat. I brought the food from the kitchen, I filled coffee cups and juice glasses, I fetched the other salad dressing, I went in search of decaf coffee when the pot was out (even though I don’t understand the point of decaf myself), and I made sure the person who was allergic to bananas didn’t eat the hummingbird cake that had bananas in it. I did get to eat myself, but by the time I did start eating, my broccoli and rice were cold. Then after dinner, I hauled all the plates and dishes to the clean-up area, sorted silverware into buckets, returned the uneaten food to the kitchen, and wiped the table clean. I was, in fact, the very last of our group of 28 women to leave the dining room.
Read in a vacuum, you might think that last paragraph was all complaining. But please don’t stop there. Read on and you will find the blessing of serving.
The whole time I was serving my dear sisters in Christ, I was filled with such joy and gladness. I relished the smiles on their faces when I brought the tray of turkey with cranberry sauce, rice, and broccoli. I was delighted that I was able to spare my dear Pastor from an allergic reaction to bananas. I appreciated each thank you and offer to help (which I did not accept, because I knew they would have their turn at another meal). I felt a deep satisfaction in completing the task and finally wiping the table clean. I did not feel the least bit burdened. Rather, I felt incredibly blessed by being able to serve my friends.
Today I have experienced two meals where someone else served. It was wonderful, but was made so much better because of the knowledge and understanding of the blessing it was for them to be able to serve.
The world looks for and offers tangible and selfish rewards for service – money, possessions, or accolades. But these are fleeting. The real and best reward of service is the simple blessing of knowing you have blessed others. And knowing that someday we will hear our God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21.