One thing that I really love that I was taught from growing up in the church system that I did, was servanthood. To be honest, I think it was in-part an accident that I learned it. I remember one year at teen camp where I thought, well either we’re going to be serious about this and put into practice now, in this safe place, or we’re all liars.
That year that teen camp was said to have been a powerful one for most of the small group of attenders.
My big strategy for putting things into practice? Simple. I held the doors for everyone whenever we went to group functions. This simple act actually bother some people (as I did it everyday for the next 4 days). A few asked me why I was holding the door for others. A few would take the door and hold it, but after two more people they let go and walked in themselves. Many said thank you.
It was such a small thing. A tiny way to practice servanthood that week, and to make it into reality instead of just theory. It wasn’t contagious. There wasn’t an outbreak of door holding or acts of servanthood. It was just me…practicing. Practicing for something bigger.
That week, I remember a bunch of us teens getting caught up in the worship time. We felt really bonded to one another. And yet servanthood? Well…
There’s something strange about the idea of religion making you a good person, and you spend most of your concentration of religious thoughts upon your self. Things like getting to heaven, getting raptured out of the time of great tribulation (or wrath), developing spiritual fruit or gifts, seeking God’s will for my life, attending church/reading bible/praying regularly.
I suppose they’re all good things. Yet they seem so internally self-focused. Does it change history to make these things our focus? Or maybe God and religious things aren’t really about affecting history anymore..?
In my own life, as I’m turning away more & more for the traditions of church system Christianity and becoming more on the fringe and dependent upon God’s mercy alone, I’m becoming more interested in being less of the central part of God’s stories or Jesus’ parables.
I’m becoming less interested in being the younger son or the older son (from Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32) and more interested in being the servant who brings the robe that the Father calls for. I’m becoming less interested in whether I’ll make to heaven, and more interested in whether or not the next generation will be able to perceive truth by the time the great 70’s Jesus Movement children pass away.
I’m becoming more interested in God’s story, God’s wisdom, God’s heart, and a little less interested in God fitting into my life, me trying find nuggets of applicable verses, and whether my heart and mouth are perfectly clean.
The more I find myself wrapped up in this greatness of what God might be up to, the more I think I’m probably becoming less Christian (according the religious systems). I’m failing. And it feels wonderful. I’m so free!
I’ve stopped caring so much about what will send me to hell (and there’s a good chance I’ll go) and I’ve started caring what is God doing. What is this mega plan that we find ourselves in if we look up and look around and notice the God fingerprints & patterns. There’s something beautiful happening in our ugly times around us. It’s unfathomable! It’s so tiny, it’s so easily missed, but if you’re looking for it, it’s so obvious that you could never just miss it.
There’s a turning aside to see.
Just like Moses in the desert. Out of God’s plan. Out of his own strength. …and yet, exactly at the place where God intended to meet with him. Just like Moses felt unfit for the role which God was sending him to preform, I’ve got nothing. I’m not qualified.
But slightly different than Moses’ story at the burning bush, I find I have this compelling willingness.
My willingness doesn’t compel me to be front & center or to seek big numbers of followers, but this willingness that’s still growing in me… it wants attempt to be the servant of all.
Yet the reality is I hate being a servant! I took care of my elder grandmother for one week, and I really how much I suck as a person. She needs some help. I can do that. Yet when everyday she asked me all-day-long if the dog has been fed or has the dog been outside recently, I thought I would lose my mind! My grandmother is so much like my dad, that I thought I’d bite my tongue off.
I’m not a good person. I am not the servant of all. I don’t even have the willingness to be the servant of all when presented with such situations. …and yet…
My theological perspective of God, Israel, the church, the nations, and creation continues to morph to something that I don’t hear others talking about. And all I want to do, is follow Jesus’ example of “bringing many sons to glory”. I don’t feel compelled to always be considering if I am a good example. As a matter of fact, I am beginning to think I am nothing more than a catalyst.
I’m happy that way. I understand who I am with this perspective. Servanthood makes sense to me.
I may not be able to master all forms of servanthood, for certainly I am no Mother Teresa, but something is changing. What’s important is changing. What I am observant of is changing. How I think is changing. My importance is changing. and it’s good. It might be miniscule, but it’s good.