Who would be a good example of what serving looks like? This was the question I was asking myself while meditating on serving and what it means to serve the King. I remember as a Mom of teenagers feeling angry about how I was treated in my family. I felt taken for granted in my household, the servant to my husband and kids. I felt unappreciated, overlooked, and my family did not realise all I did for them. During this season, God taught me a fundamental lesson about serving that changed my heart and encouraged my life.
With this new attitude to serving my family, everyday mothering done by so many Moms worldwide has become an excellent example of the serving we are talking about.
Back then, one particular day was horrible and not wanting to submit to the tyranny of self-pity, I decided to look up what the Bible had to say to slaves, particularly seeing as I was a “slave” in my household.
Attitude of Slaves
Starting at Col 3:23, Paul encourages slaves to obey their masters, “doing it with a sincere heart (a desire to serve) and reverence for the Lord.”
Then verse 24 added: doing all (working hard at it) “as though working for the Lord, not for men” (people, my children, my husband.)
To conclude in verse 25: “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Jesus Christ you are serving.”
There it was, a clear description of the attitude of a servant. I was not serving my family but serving the Lord. To be doing it with reverence for the Lord, as though working for the Lord, to receive my inheritance and reward from the Lord. Mothering is often just that, looking to a longer-term reward and working in the interest of others, not yourself.
I don’t feel like serving
But I had not been feeling very “serving” towards them; instead, I had been feeling the inconvenience of the energy I had spent, objected to the time demanded; the personal sacrifices I had made to meet their needs. I had paid the price of keeping going when I would rather sit down; doing what I didn’t feel like doing; giving them attention when I would rather have time for myself; surrendering my sleep to meet another’s agenda.
All this, without a single word of sincere appreciation or a reciprocal act of serving my needs.
The above verses put perspective on WHO I am serving; ultimately, I am doing it because my real Master has asked me to, not my family. That change of perspective dissolved the anger I was holding towards my family and put a new perspective on serving them.
- He sees my heart:“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7 1Chron 28:9
- He sees what I do in secret service without people close to me knowing what I do: “…so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
- He rewards: “…will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” Rev 2:23
Back then, I needed to change my attitude to serving my family and rather than looking for appreciation from them, look to the Lord for the reward for my service.
Then on those days that it becomes a bit harder to serve, Peter gives the last bit of advice:
“If anyone serves, she should do it with the strength God provides.” 1 Peter 4:11
In other words, serving is not done out of our ability, and there are days when we feel spent, abused, tired, that the time demanded is not worth it, nor the energy. On these days, we are encouraged to look to the Lord, who provides the strength to serve even when we don’t feel like serving.
Father, thank you that You see me, and You see my heart as I serve the people around me. It helps to realise that they may not appreciate and understand the sacrifice of serving them, but You do. You receive it as a gift given to You because it is You I ultimately serve in the task of mothering, or even any task of serving that You have called me to. I choose to serve as unto the Lord and ask Lord that on the days that it is overwhelming and unattractive, that You provide the strength and courage to serve in love.