Whenever I’m around my mother for more than a few minutes, I’m reminded of the beauty of serving. My mom is such a giving, serving woman. I’m not implying that she’s a slave to other people’s whims. Far from it. My mom is a strong, smart and successful woman. But she joyfully works to make other people feel cared for and loved. And in serving other people – in her home, in her church, in the community and among her friends – she appears all the more beautiful!
Today let’s talk about the beauty of serving.
The Proverbs 31 Woman
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.”~ Proverbs 31:10
You may have assumed that the Proverbs 31 woman is either a little pathetic or an exhausted over achiever. But the Hebrew word for an “excellent” wife is best translated a “courageous” wife. This woman is strong, fearless, confident and able. She’s a mighty force to be reckoned with. The Proverbs 31 woman definitely deserves our admiration and and emulation.
But this same woman of valor also serves the people in her home and beyond with grace and industry.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.”~ Proverbs 31:19-21
What about us?
I sometimes have assumed that serving is a lowly position. And indeed, we must humble ourselves in order to willingly serve the needs of others. But Jesus taught us that the last shall be first and those who humble themselves will be lifted up in due time. Jesus elevated the position of servant, both by His teaching and His example, to one of beauty and godliness.
I often struggle to desire to serve others, feeling that it’s beneath me or too time consuming or labor intensive. But at the same time I esteem and greatly appreciate those who serve me. Serving is one of those traits I admire in others but hesitate to practice myself.
When I pause to consider the beauty of serving, however, I desire to be a woman who serves more frequently, graciously and willingly.
How to cultivate service
So I’ve put some thought into how I can become a woman who more willingly and graciously serves others. Here’s what I’ve come up with.
- Consider the example of Jesus. As He prepared to complete His ministry on earth through the sacrifice of crucifixion, Jesus wrapped a towel around His waist, took up a basin of water and washed the stinky feet of His followers. At the least convenient moment, when He deserved to sit and be served, Jesus humbled Himself and met the physical needs of people who couldn’t fully grasp the weight of His sacrifice. Wow. What an example to learn from. And indeed, He commissioned His disciples to follow His lead.
- Recognize the beauty of service. Watching my mom serve so graciously and willingly is convicting to me. Her behavior compels me to go home and serve my husband and others in my life more consistently and cheerfully. Being in her presence has again elevated the position of servant to what it truly is: a Christlike role that blesses others and glorifies God, but also reflects well on her own character.
- Begin at home. In our zeal to serve others we sometimes skip over the very ones whom God has placed nearest to us, the ones who need what we have to give more than anyone else…our families. As I prepared a meal for another family years ago I was deeply convicted when my own child asked what we would be having for dinner that evening. “Cereal or a sandwich,” I confessed. I tried to make sure that didn’t happen again. Let’s take joy in serving our families. No, I’m not implying we indulge our family members by doing for them what they should do for themselves. But most of us know where that line is without getting too close to it.
- Look for needs and simply meet them. The beauty of serving begins with simply opening our eyes and seeing the needs of others. That requires that we develop a little sensitivity to other people and their burdens. We can pray for that acuity, but then we must act on it.
- Line up regular opportunities for service. When my children were very young I had a dear friend in her 60s who would come by once a week to take my oldest to feed the ducks in a local pond while I took a nap or rested. When she returned with my preschooler, she would scrub my oven or sweep my floor or dust my blinds. She voluntarily developed a little routine of meeting my basic needs every Thursday. What a treasure! Frances was one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever known.
Do you know a woman who serves beautifully? Why not think about her for a few minutes today and consider how she meets the needs of others with such grace and a willing heart. Let her be your inspiration today.
Do you have thoughts you’d like to share about today’s topic? I’d love to hear from you today! I tend to take as much time off from work as I can during the weekends, so I may not reply to your comments unless you ask me a direct question. But I’d love for you to carry on this conversation in the comment section below. And you can know for certain that I read and value each and every comment. Please remember that I try to keep this space free from controversy, so let’s stay away from the topic of politics or other divisive issues.