Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Improving Your Serve

My most recent read from Charles Swindoll, Improving Your Serve, was actually one of his first published works from back in 1981. Although written more than 30 years ago, this is a devotional that is both timeless and timely. The book is focused on how to be a better servant to those in our world. In truth, although I have heard multiple sermons and read countless books on servanthood, somehow my mind still equates "servant" with low-level, menial helpers. It is a role that my mind wants to marginalize into something subservient, something unimportant, something derogatory. However, this just proves that I don't yet truly appreciate what a servant is and why they are important. The fact is that dynamic people can be servants, important people can be servants, and leaders can be servants.

In this book Swindoll develops a beautiful portrait of the servant. This beauty radiates all the more because Jesus modeled the role of a servant not only in his teachings, but also in the very way he lived his life. There is one account in the gospel of John where Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. When he finished his task, he said,

"Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

A servant possesses qualities such as:
  • Recognizing that others are valuable and part of God's family too
  • Understanding that giving is an essential trait of Jesus that we should strive to model
  • Doing things out of love and a willing spirit and not to receive accolades and recompense
Swindoll not only paints a portrait of a servant, but he also helps us to understand the mind of a servant. In fact, two folks can be working at the same task but with entirely different mind sets. If one works out of a giving heart and a generous spirit and he other grumbles and complains and is seeking reward, even though they may accomplish the same amount of work, only one of these is a true servant. A wonderful book to dive into and embrace.