Learning from Grace: Lessons in Servanthood
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My great-grandmother was apparently quite a personality–warm, vivacious, talkative, and outgoing. Her name was Grace. And while I didn’t know her, her presence and influence lingers, even to my generation. I was listening to my great-aunt the other day say that Grace gave her some advice a long time ago that’s still true today: to do one good thing for someone else every day.
And what a beautiful goal that is! I fear that too often my troubles seem so overwhelming and distressing because that is where I am setting my eyes upon. When I step back and serve someone else, it often leaves me more grateful, more appreciative, and more aware of how abundantly blessed I am.
It might seem exhausting. Do something for someone else? I already can’t keep up with what I am responsible for! Surely, God can’t expect that of me.
And yet, doesn’t he?
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
I want my son to have the heart of a servant when he grows up. I want him to have a heart that sighs with compassion for those in need. And in order for that to happen, he needs to see a life of servanthood in me first.
An Act of Service, Whether Large or Small
So when I am tired, I still can make time to help a friend. When I feel grumpy, I still need to find a smile. When I just want to lie on the couch, I can spare just a few moments.
Because sometimes we equate service with building houses in the Amazon jungle. We think service must be organized and with people and fundraisers and all-out efforts. And while that can be service, it’s not all that service can be.
Service can also be a text to ask how your sick friend is. Service can be a card sent to a shut-in, with a picture your child drew for her. Service can be making a double batch of dinner and taking the other half to a widow or a young mom. Service can be asking a lonely person over for a cup of morning coffee. Service can be listening to that elderly lady repeat her stories from her youth because her mind is slipping and that is the only thing she can hold on to now. Service can be dropping off a friend’s favorite drink at the office where she works. Service can be watching another mom’s kids because you see she needs that break.
You see, service doesn’t have to be flashy or take up lots of time. Often, quiet, thoughtful ways produce the most meaningful service. In love that seeps throughout your life until suddenly one day, you realize that it’s not something you’re working on but now a habit, ingrained in your daily routine.
I’m not there yet…but I’d like to be. Until then, I look at the “Grace”s in my life and learn from their example of what servanthood really is.