Being a servant means lots of standing still

People talk about serving God. They talk about wanting to serve God. We spend a lot of time and words doing things that we think are a service to God.

As I was talking to some friends about learning how each of us is best made to serve God, I started thinking less about serving and more about being a servant.

I was thinking about being a servant at a fancy dinner in a big house. Think Downton Abbey. There is some rushing upstairs and downstairs. And then there is a lot of standing and waiting and watching for the hand of the guests. There is room for initiative, but the initiative can’t run ahead of the basics of keeping the glasses full and carrying the food at the right speed.

The disciples had to adjust their pace of life to that of Jesus. However fast he was walking was the speed they had to walk if they wanted to be with him.

I think that discernment processes for discovering our purpose often make us rush real fast or go through the six steps quickly. And I keep finding out that there may be many sleeps following a word from God. For example, if God says “wait and trust”, we keep wanting to know how long. But waiting on God, to use the servant (waiter) image, may mean a long wait.

A song writer put it this way:

I lift up my eyes to you,
to you whose throne is in heaven.
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
till he shows us his mercy.

Turns out, the standing and waiting IS serving.

5 thoughts on “Being a servant means lots of standing still

  1. Rich Dixon

    Maybe that’s why “servers” used to be called “waiters.”

    This is a great mental image. Extending it a bit, I’m picturing a servant at a big house telling the owner how he wants to serve, dictating the way the job should be done. Never happens. The servant’s role is to figure out what the owner wants, and how and when he wants it, and then do his best to deliver. And wait for the next opportunity.

    It’s not a very “American” mindset. Maybe that’s why Americanized–or humanized–Christianity sometimes doesn’t look much like following Jesus.

    Serving vs. being a servant–reminds me that we’re human “beings” rather than human “doings.”


  2. joseph ruiz

    What a powerful illustration. Rich I love your addition. Feels like a servant has to be attentive to the basics – the pacing – the anticipation but within the boundaries of the role. I love the Psalm Jon it always provides such a great word picture. I remember a particular show of The Dog Whisperer – Caesar is going to feed the dog but he won’t until the dog looks at him not the food. That for me is a picture of how what I feel Jesus is saying to me don’t look at the stuff – food, clothes, clients etc look at me focus on me I have all you need – Now if I can just remember to do it!
    Grace and Peace


  3. Cheryl

    John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” It has been this kind of thinking that helps me through those wait periods. While I am busy planning my next service, God is working in me, even if this planning may not be according to his plans. He works in me to align my will with his. When I have felt completely idle, God did some of his most powerful work in me to change me, to help me be patient, to teach me his will. While we wait as servants I believe God is working in us, molding us to his image. There is action in the wait period even when it seems like we are doing nothing.


    1. cjhinx

      After writing this I read my other morning devotional titled, “The Best Laid Plans” based on Romans 15:23-33 where Paul planned to visit Rome but never did. God must be speaking to me.


  4. Jill

    But I don’t want to wait.

    Which, of course is irrelevant except for illustrative purposes after the fact…as in: “There was a time when I…”

    In my season of waiting this year, I have been frustrated beyond belief at not DOING. And I’m beginning to see that the purpose of that waiting was to be learning something new…it was just His way of teaching me…that I needed to open up time to pray and to be present.

    This week I have been wrestling with the concept of being very present while having to balance planning ahead for things…

    Which is sort of like waiting.


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