If you’re not getting dirty, you’re doing it wrong.
Today, the term “servant” has a very classy ring to it. We hear it and picture gentle people singing in a choir or laughing with children in the nursery. In the church context, it’s pleasant.
But what about the original context?
I read a lot. And some of what I’ve read has been historical fiction. While not my favorite genre, there are a few books I enjoy. The thing they all have in common? Servants.
The servants were poor. They worked hard and had little to show for it. They were kept out of sight. They were under appreciated. They were ordered around. They got dirty. Frequently. It was their job. And if they failed at their job… they were fired. Without references. Which meant without hope of another decent job.
We are called to be servants of Christ. However, the more I understand what God requires of me as His servant, the more I feel like the wicked servant rather than the faithful one.
I think the biggest obstacle we find in serving is that it hurts. It costs.
We get dirty, both literally and figuratively. And it’s not fun.
I remember having to hold my breath to visit a child who had been coming to church a few months because his home smelled so bad of animal feces. Not fun.
I remember staying up til 2 am at the hospital with someone detoxing from heroine. Not fun.
Cleaning up vomit? Moving furniture? Scrubbing a bathroom? Not fun.
But it’s not all physical. There’s emotional dirt, too.
I remember being manipulated.
I remember being insulted.
I remember being accused.
Serving isn’t glamorous. But it can be glorious.
Here’s the reality:
You can’t wash clothes without getting waterlogged.
You can’t wash dishes without getting grimy.
You can’t clean someone’s shoes without getting mud on your hands.
You can’t dust without being covered in it and sneezing frequently.
You can’t clean out the fridge and smell good.
So why do we think serving in God’s kingdom is any different?
In his kingdom, there are still toilets to clean.
There are people to clean up after.
There are people to cook for.
There are still chores to be done. And until the house is clean, you can’t go out and work in the world. The problem is, we can’t even handle the mess of our own house.
And if you can’t handle the messy, behind-the-scenes work of the household (the Church), how on earth do you expect to effectively serve the lost and dying in the world?
You might smell bad.
You might get their blood on you.
People might look at you differently.
But if you’re a servant… what does it really matter? You only represent the Master.
And He will reward his Faithful servants.
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. -Psalm 4:3
I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants. -Psalm 85:8
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ -Matthew 5:21
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.