In regard to Bibilical servanthood, it seems there are two types of people. There are those who see a need and whole-heartedly offer, “Please let me know if I can do anything!” I am guilty of this one myself. I am great at offering and am certainly willing to help, but deep down, I also know it is likely the person will never specifically ask. Which leads to the second type of person–the one who sees a need and just fixes it, or at least helps as best they can.
Prior to us having children of our own, S and I very much enjoyed helping others. Whether it was impromptu babysitting (at no charge of course, or it wouldn’t be much of an act of service), running an errand for someone, or simply fixing a meal for someone under the weather, we truly found blessing in helping others. I believe what goes around comes around, though I’m not sure I’ve ever blessed enough people in my whole life to deserve half of the blessings we have graciously received in recent years. My first really humbling experience happened when I was pregnant with my first child and went into pre-term labor. I was assigned bed-rest for a month at home. Day after day, I lay there on the futon, with the computer set up to one side, my scrapbooking stuff within reach on the other side, and a cooler of snacks and food lovingly pack by my husband each morning before he left for work. As the weeks went by, I felt isolated, discouraged at times, lonely, and I watched the dust bunnies pile up under the futon and the dog hair collect in the corners. One day, my door opened. Because I wasn’t allowed to get up except for quick bathroom trips, we actually had posted a sign on the door to “Come On In!” and our friends quickly felt comfortable doing so, so this was nothing new. On this day, however, there was a quite a commotion made, and before I knew it, 5 ladies appeared in my living room, and I only knew 2 of them. In each of their hands was some sort of cleaning item–wipes, dusters, brooms, mops, cleaners, whatever. The strangers were introduced, and I was told essentially, “Sit back, relax, your hubby is coming home to a clean house this evening!” I cannot express the bitter-sweetness of that moment, as I felt so loved and blessed, while at the same time feeling so embarrassed and humbled in my human weaknesses. Later, as I relayed this to a close friend and a very Godly mentor, she told me something I will never forget. She said, “As Christians, in our desire to serve, we can become selfish. There are times when we are expected to allow others to be blessed by letting THEM serve US.”
Since that time, I have been very busy raising the children, but we have continued to seek opportunities to help. S, particularly, has spent many hours cutting logs or shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor, caring for a farm so the farmer could have a vacation, encouraging or uplifting folks who may be discouraged, and more. Sometimes, he is able to take a child or two along with him so they can learn by example. Even now, during our temporary circumstances, he is using his free time to babysit, help with odd jobs, and just serve others.
Also, since that bed-rest lesson, we have been blessed so many times by others. In CO, we were blessed with members of our new church helping us prepare our new house for moving day. We were blessed with random babysitters when something came up suddenly. We were blessed with wonderful neighbors, friends, and mentors, who gave of their time and resources to help us learn to farm. We were blessed with an amazing young woman who took the liberty of showing up at our house every Tuesday evening so S and I could have a couple hours together to go to dinner, go for a walk, or just go hang out and talk and spend time as a couple without interruption. The only payment she would ever accept was some fresh goat milk or a dozen eggs. She provided this service for over 6 months, and I can’t begin to tell you what a blessing it was to me, personally, and to our marriage. It came at a very stressful time for us when we were experiencing daily issues with our young boys, therapy and doctor appointments, preparations for a move, and other circumstances that could easily have caused discouragement. Since moving to IL, I have been blessed by church members who don’t really know me, but have freely given their time and muscle to come help stack hay or mow the lawn.
I thought of all this because of something that happened this evening. Ever since we moved in, there has been a lurking danger in my pasture. A few years ago, we had to tear down an old fence line, and the project resulted in roughly 100 large, open post holes running through our pasture, just waiting for an unsuspecting leg to fall in and snap. I have worried over it, and even ordered the dirt to fill the holes, but I just couldn’t find the time amidst all the other projects to get out there and deal with it. Then, a couple weeks ago, M stepped in a hole and sprained her ankle, resulting in her limping around on crutches for a few days. Finally, this week, I mentioned it to a man at church who has a couple of strong, young boys, and I asked if I could hire them for a few hours to do the job. I gave him my number, and we left it at that. This evening, I came home from an outing to discover that he and his boys had come out, rummaged through the garage (I assume) for tools, bravely entered my pasture despite the two, massive, barking livestock guardian dogs ( he had met them previously when I was present), were not intimidated by the two bee hives sitting just a few steps from several holes, and they filled every hole in that pasture. I was so overwhelmed with his act, I almost cried. It was like a burden was just picked up off my shoulders once again, and carried away to the heavens. I ran into the house and called him to thank him, and to offer payment, which he refused. He just explained, “Ah, we had a few hours to spare, so we just ran out and took care of it. Glad we could help!”
Wow! I am so humbled, and so amazed at what a true, Godly, servant’s heart can do. I pray I never forget the blessing I have received, and more importantly, I pray that I can decrease my verbal offerings of “Let me know if I can help!” and increase my awareness of needs and be a type of person who just jumps in with both feet, and physically helps someone who needs it.