How to Raise Servants in a Serve-Me World

I can’t think of service without an episode of The Cosby Show popping into my head. Cliff and Claire Huxtable are in the living room and the little neighbor boy shows up. Claire stands up and offers to get her husband, Cliff, a cup of coffee and the little boy gets a shocked look on his face.

“I didn’t think you did that sort of thing, Mrs. Huxtable.”

“What sort of thing?” she asks.

“You know. Serve your man.”

Instantly, Claire is offended and proceeds to tell the boy, in no uncertain terms, that she is not serving her man. The mere thought of serving another person, even her husband, was offensive to her.

The Serving Saviorwashingdishes

Being considered a servant was never offensive to Christ. One of His final lessons to his disciples was one of service. As He knelt before each man and washed his feet, Christ instructed them to do the same for each other.

For I have given you an example, that you should do just as I have done to you. – John 13:15

The problem is that this is contrary to what the world teaches. We live in a what’s-in-it-for-me kind of world. How can we teach our children that there is beauty in servanthood? How can we raise servants in a serve-me world?

  • Teach them to ask, “What can I do to help?” When it is time for my girls to clean their room, my three-year-old sometimes is found wandering aimlessly around the room. She wants to do something, but she doesn’t know what to do. I have taught her to walk up to one of her sisters and ask what she can do to help. The fact is that, left to our own devices, we will be selfish. Servanthood needs to be taught.
  • Let them see you serving. If you have ever tried to sneak the last piece of a pie when no one was looking, then you have discovered that someone is always looking. If you want your children to serve others, then that is what they need to see you doing.
  • Get uncomfortable. I have mentioned my introversion. I have admitted being socially awkward. To serve others, however, we must step out of our comfort zones. It means meeting people where they are and our children need to see us doing just that. Always being comfortable should make us uncomfortable.
  • Serve with a smile. Mother Theresa once said that the miracle was not the work she did, but that she was happy to do it. If we want our children to be true servants, we must instill in them a love of serving. It should be a desire and not an obligation.

We want our children to be healthy and happy. We want them to be well-rounded and productive members of society. We want them to be safe and successful. We want them to take care of us when we are old. {Oh, is that just me?}

Ultimately, however, we should want them to follow Jesus wherever He leads them. If they do that, God will take care of whatever else they need.

But seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

Whether it was the hungry or the helpless, Jesus served them.

Whether it was a brother or a betrayer, Jesus served them.

If we want to raise servants, we need to be servants.

Speak, Lord: The Samuel Project (Introduction)

Something had to change. Sitting alone in a bathroom stall at a women’s conference, the conviction was so heavy on my heart that I could barely breathe. I knew I was missing something.

I had allowed myself to become so busy with good things. So busy, in fact, that I was terrified of missing the great work He had for me. I kept whispering, over and over, What am I missing, Lord? What am I missing? The woman in the stall next to me must have thought I was crazy. But, then again, maybe she nodded in complete understanding.

Maybe she, like me, had allowed herself to become Martha. Maybe she could completely relate to the fact that I had been, for quite some time, anxious and troubled about many things.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42

Just like Martha, I was distracted with much serving. I was missing something. And it wasn’t just any something. It was what Jesus called the one thing necessary. There I was running myself ragged trying to be the perfect wife and mother and Christian and woman and sister and friend and daughter. Can I just tell you that I was exhausted? Physically, mentally, spiritually. In every way imaginable, I was spent and empty and it all came to a head right there in a bathroom stall with a line of women waiting their turn.

I was missing the one thing that I absolutely had to have and that was time at the feet of the Lord. I had forsaken worship. No longer did I just sit and allow my Savior to speak to me. I was not listening for His voice or seeking His guidance. If I were honest, I could not remember the last time I had just put all else aside and allowed Him to have my undivided attention.

I turned my back on the one thing necessary and I was paying dearly for it.

You’ll be happy to know that I did, eventually, leave the bathroom stall. The pounding in my chest, however, was relentless. All I could think was, How do I fix this, Lord? How do I fix this?

That women’s conference ended. I drove back home. I did not want to just go back to the way things were. I could not go back to the way things were. So, I lay in bed and begged God to speak. And He did. Samuel. Samuel. That’s what I heard deep in my heart. Samuel. Samuel.

I have to admit that I had no idea what that meant.

I grabbed my phone from beside the bed and opened the Bible app and began to read in 1 Samuel. In chapter 3, the Lord tries to speak to Samuel. Samuel does not recognize His voice. Three times this happens. Then Eli tells him that it is the Lord. So, when Samuel hears his name again, he responds with, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

I had been shamefully guilty of not listening. I knew it. With tears in my eyes, I whispered, Speak to me, Lord. Your servant is listening.

And, so, The Samuel Project begins.

For 30 days, I will rise early, read Scripture and let Him speak. No agenda on my part. No genie-like wishes for Him to grant. Just me before Him with Bible open studying a passage where God spoke to His people and listening.

•30 days of listening for His still, small voice.

•30 portions of Scripture reminding me of how He spoke to His children in days past.

•30 days of choosing the one thing necessary.

I have read that it takes 30 days for something to become a habit. Lord, may it be so.

Speak, for your servant is listening.


Day 1: Introduction to The Samuel Project
Day 2: God Speaks to Abram
Day 3: God Speaks to Moses
Day 4: God Speaks to Joshua
Day 5: God Speaks to Ezekiel
Day 6: Saturday (Family Time – No Post)
Day 7: Sunday (Family Time – No Post)
Day 8: God Speaks to the Exiles
Day 9: God Speaks to Gideon
Day 10: God Speaks to the Thirsty
Day 11: God Speaks to the Worrier
Day 12: God Speaking
Day 13: Saturday (Family Time – No Post)
Day 14: Sunday (Family Time – No Post)
Day 15: God Speaks to King Jehoshaphat
Day 16:
Day 17: God Speaks to Me Martha
Day 18:
Day 19:
Day 20: Saturday (Family Time – No Post)
Day 21: Sunday (Family Time – No Post)
Day 22: God Speaks to Hagar
Day 23:
Day 24:
Day 25:
Day 26:
Day 27: Saturday (Family Time – No Post)
Day 28: Sunday (Family Time – No Post)
Day 29: God Speaks to the Glory-Seeker
Day 30 & 31: God Speaks to Me
(This page will be updated with links as the month progresses.)

Will you join me for the next 31 days as we eavesdrop on conversations between God and His children? I promise, He has a word for us as well! (I’m linking up with Nester for this writing project. Visit her to find TONS of other great 31 Days series!)