Come To Serve, Not Be Served

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

This week I flew to Orlando. No, I didn’t go in search of the fun most people think of when they think of Orlando, Florida: no Disney World, no Universal Studios.

Instead, I went to serve.

One of the truths of serving others is we gain more than if we’d gone in search of being served.

My class was fantastic. They were fun. They listened, engaged with me, and embraced the training I provided.

I haven’t had much opportunity to travel in the past two years. Being the guardian of two young children tends to rein in the ability to leave town for several days week after week.

My grandchildren’s counselor got excited when I told her I had been away for three days. “Did you read? Did you relax? Did you get some peace and quiet?”

Nope. I got less sleep than I would at home. I worked right up until bedtime preparing for the next day. I spent as much time as I could with the other trainers when I wasn’t in the classroom.

But I found joy in this.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11

Jesus found times of peace and solitude, but he came to serve, not to be served. And in so doing, I believe he found joy. If he’d grumped around tired and worn out, no one would have followed him. Just a few verses later, Paul alludes to this:

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. Philippians 2:14-16

So serving is where it’s at.  I served and through that service I received:

  • Time with old friends
  • A new friend whom I hope will become a great friend
  • Conversations with people about what matters to them and seeing their eyes light up
  • Laughter, lots of it
  • Heartfelt thanks for helping people do their jobs well
  • The camaraderie of 45 trainees I will probably never see again, but who touched my life in a very positive way
  • A change of pace for a few days
  • Service from those hired to make sure I had everything I needed to do my job well, including:
    • Waiters who brought me non-dairy milk
    • Food servers who replenished the buffet just as I reached the empty dishes
    • Meeting event people who made sure I had everything I needed and did so without complaint
    • Trainers who jumped in with tips and tricks
    • Several assistant “trainers” who made sure my classroom kept moving forward
    • Managers (internal and external) who checked with me on time and needs
  • Safe trips there and back
  • A husband who stepped up to care for the grandchildren by himself while I was gone (I know how hard this is)

Where do you serve?

 

When Do You Take Time To Stop?

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

One of my favorite authors posted on Facebook the other day that she took a day off and did nothing but watch TV, catching up on shows and eating. This was unusual for her, and she asked if this was what normal people do every day.

Most of the ones who responded said they didn’t know because they never had time to stop. I was one of those people.

This morning, as I geared up for everything on my to do list, I realized that I should not feel proud of the fact I never stop. That is not good. It’s not good, either, for people to spend their days watching TV and eating.

We are commanded to stop, be still, know that He is God. This is not by accident. We need it.

God knew we needed to slow down and rest. Even he rested.

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  Genesis 2:3

Although people focus a lot on Jesus’ efforts to push forward and act during his time on earth, he did carve out  niches of time to rest.

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Matthew 14: 13-15

In the above passage, Jesus had just learned of the beheading of John the Baptist. He needed time to think, to draw near to God. He withdrew by boat to a solitary place. Have you ever gone out on a boat and drifted on the currents? It’s peaceful, quiet, a place to reflect and restore. When the people followed him, he tended to them, but by the end of the day, the disciples express concern over how to feed the people. Why? Jesus chose a remote place where he could be quiet, to be still, to be with the Father. There was no food.

The crowds took that time. Doesn’t that sound familiar? But, it doesn’t deter Jesus. See what happens after they feed the five thousand:

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.  After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Matthew 14:22-25

He still found the time to pray and be alone. It meant he missed his ride, but he made the choice to get what he needed most.

This is just one day in Christ’s life, but if you look, you’ll find many occurrences where he sought time to rest as his father commanded, to follow the psalmist’s admonition to be still and know.

This doesn’t mean sitting on the couch watching TV or playing with your tablet. It means to be still. To listen for the Spirit. To pray to the Lord. To feel the comfort of His power and presence.

I admit, this is hard for me. I’m pulled in so many directions, but I need to rejuvenate and be still. Even if it’s a few quiet moments with the bathroom door closed, I need to find it.

Where do you go to be still?

Lessons From a Lighthouse: Shine Your Light

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

We climbed 207 steps to the top of Cape Lookout Lighthouse.

Yes.  207 spiraling steps.

It wasn’t a cool day.  It wasn’t a very breezy day either.  It took work, but we made it.

At the top, we found breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the sound between the lower outer banks and the mainland. Shackleford Island, home to wild horses for centuries, spread out in one direction, and I managed to capture photos of the horses even though, at that distance, they were tiny dots.

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  Matthew 5:15

The lighthouse at Cape Lookout was the first lighthouse built on the Outer Banks in 1805.  It stood ninety-seven feet high, but ships found it difficult to locate. The barrier islands are surrounded with shoals dangerous to a ship. The light wasn’t doing its job. In 1859, a taller lighthouse replaced the first one. It stands 163 feet high and became the guide for building others along the coast.

Christ tells us to put our lamp on a stand.  It must be visible. If it’s not, you need to rethink your efforts. Just like climbing the lighthouse stairs, this takes work.  We can’t proclaim ourselves a light for others unless we choose to work at being that light.

Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”  Luke 11:36

What can you do to make your light shine? Before you answer with the typical three–read your Bible, pray, and attend church–I ask you to reconsider your answer.  Yes.  we should do those things, but they are the first steps on that 207 step climb. They might get you to the first landing inside the lighthouse (there were four landings, and a ladder-like staircase at the very top).

What else can you do to let your light shine in order to save people from the dangerous shoals and shallows surrounding them?

At the top of the lighthouse. © Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

At the top of the lighthouse.
© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.