Last Sunday I followed my almost 18-month-old around with a plastic bright blue colored bowl of fruit, hoping to get in a few more bites of food since he was too busy to sit still. As I shadowed him around my parents kitchen this evening while we were there for dinner, feeding him small bites of pear by the forkful, I jokingly said aloud to him (and my sister-in-law in the kitchen with me), “it’s like I’m a servant or something”.
And you know, last night I jumped out of bed at 12:45am as I heard his cry through our cracked bedroom door, responding to his whim to be held and fed. Earlier I changed his diaper, wiping his bottom and disposing of that which was less than pleasant smelling. I carry him, I wipe his runny nose, I bathe him. Here, let me feed you more grapes as you recline on your floor pillow, son.
A servant is defined as “a person who performs duties for others, especially a person employed in a house on domestic duties or as a personal attendant.” Thank you Google. So despite my flippant comment, I clearly qualify. And I’m okay with that. Why? Not just because I’m a mom- in reading the above definition, all moms qualify for the title “servant” (yes, others do too, of course, but I’m speaking about what I know here). But isn’t servant a derogatory term? Yes, throughout history it has often been equated with someone of a lower station. And you know? That doesn’t really bother me either.
Because it occurred to me in a brief flash of awareness (that I attribute to getting more than just a couple of hours of sleep last night), that I am blessed to be called a servant. I’m blessed to even be considered of lower station. Because Jesus was. And I want to be like him.
In Matthew 25, Jesus is describing the final judgment- what it will be like when He returns. He states in verses 24-40, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
So Jesus is describing service to others. He goes on to state that in caring for others- the least of these- we are caring for HIm.
Then in Luke 9 the disciples are arguing amongst themselves about who is the greatest. Bless those imperfect men- they are such an encouragement in their imperfection (and I love how all their sin and mistakes makes Christ shine that much brighter- reminds me that He uses mine for His glory too!). Anyway…as they are arguing, it says in verses 47-48 that “…Jesus took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” So again Jesus reiterates serving “the least of these”, and in this example the least of these is exemplified by a child.
I write this to remind myself, and encourage other mothers especially, to look upon the seemingly mundane tasks of wiping noses, changing of diapers, and the spoon-feeding of our babies as, yes, SERVING. We are servants. But we aren’t only serving our children. We are serving the Lord. Our kids are “the least of these”. And aside from getting to be their mommies, they allow us to serve The Greatest of All.