Jesus said to his disciples. “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you! Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
“Servant” is not a word listed my bio but it should be.
I serve my family.
I serve my church.
I serve at my children’s school.
I serve on the marriage enrichment team.
I serve at bible study.
I serve our women’s ministry.
I serve at Proverbs 31 ministries.
I serve my parents, relatives, neighbors and friends. Probably not as well as I could all the time, but I try.
I even serve as a Janitor. Yes, a Janitor.
I’m beginning to realize that my number one job, my number one purpose and/or my number one title is “Servant.”
Several years ago, my father in law’s office needed a Janitor and we took the job. (Me and the whole family.) My husband and I thought the job (done as a family) would help teach our children about hard work and money… the pay off!
Each Saturday, my husband takes our children to the office to scrub toilets, clean a kitchen, vacuum and mop. (I go on occasion when I’m not traveling and they need an extra hand.) The job is anything but glamorous, but at the end of every month the kids are rewarded with a few hundred dollars. Most of it goes into their savings account. Ten percent is given to the church and the rest is theirs to spend as they wish. So far, it’s been a good plan. Those saving accounts have helped buy cars, laptops and helped with other expenses.
Today, our two eldest kids are in college and have jobs of their own. Our youngest son is the only one left who still cleans the office with his dad. As he grows older, school and sports demands more of his time. So who picks up the slack? Me. I’ve never minded the occasional cleaning but it’s becoming a regular thing now. So regular I’ve joked about adding “Janitor” to my bio.
Last night, as I cleaned, vacuumed, mopped and took out the trash, I asked God if it was time to give up the Janitor job. You know, since the kids are growing up and it was all about them anyway. That’s when the verse in Mark came to mind and I knew God was speaking.
My Heart to Heart with God
God whispered to my heart, “It wasn’t just for the children. It was for you, too. I’ve been teaching you how to serve.”
“What?” I was confused and little offended. “I know how to serve.” I told God. “Am I not teaching my children this principle? Besides, I know that a good leader is a servant-leader.”
“Do you?” God Asked.
“Yep!” I answered.
“Then why were you offended?” He inquired. (God’s questions always make me uncover places I’d rather keep hidden. But it’s useless to ignore Him. He’ll just keep asking. He’s bossy that way.)
“Taking over the Janitor’s job is like moving backwards or something. I mean… I do serve a nationally known ministry, right? How would that look on my bio?” I confessed. (I had to fess up. What choice did I have? He knows what I’m really thinking and feeling anyway. I might as well be honest.)
Then, my mind began recalling scripture about servanthood. All the things that Christ taught His disciples ran through my mind’s eye as if I were watching a movie about how to become a Servant-leader.
A Servant Leader
Some of what God brought to my mind was this: When Jesus talked about submission and service, it is always directed toward leaders, or the ones who want to be great in the kingdom, and they are always ordered to submit downward, not upward.
Oh, how I get off track from time to time! I was beginning to see that this Janitor’s job was about keeping me focused on my purpose—to serve others. Think about it… Jesus put no pressure on the crowds to submit to the leader, but instead put the pressure on leaders to be slaves of all.
God wasn’t calling me downward. He was just calling me back to my purpose. Part of my purpose is to serve women so that they might know my Jesus. Isn’t that the job of a servant? It’s to do all she can to make life better for others–to free them to be everything they can be. In other words, a servant is committed to making others successful. …and I long for women to become all they are in Christ!
Downward submission seems to be a natural outgrowth of the way Jesus viewed people. He served them because he knew their value. Some leaders lord it over others because they don’t recognize their value and don’t view them in the way Jesus does (We have often been trained to be more interested in reaching objectives than in loving people). God wants me to see people’s value and serve them until they become all he created them to be. And if that means being a Janitor will help me succeed in helping others—then a Janitor I shall be.
Micca Campbell is allergic to mornings. She is directionally challenged. A Rock Star in the shower. A pasta lover and best serves others through speaking, writing, and Janitorial services.