SCRIPTURE: Luke 22:26 (CEB)
But that's not the way it will be with you. Instead, the greatest among you must become like a person of lower status and the leader like a servant.
Houghton Miffin shares this story: John Kenneth Galbraith, in his autobiography, A Life in Our Times, illustrates the devotion of Emily Gloria Wilson, his family's housekeeper: It had been a wearying day, and I asked Emily to hold all telephone calls while I had a nap. Shortly thereafter the phone rang. Lyndon Johnson was calling from the White House. "Get me Ken Galbraith. This is Lyndon Johnson." "He is sleeping, Mr. President. He said not to disturb him." "Well, wake him up. I want to talk to him." "No, Mr. President. I work for him, not you. When I called the President back, he could scarcely control his pleasure. "Tell that woman I want her here in the White House."
I had never thought of it in this particular light until the Rev. Phil Roughton led me down the path. “What are you going to be when you grow up?” We have heard that question a thousand times as we grew up. We probably have asked it of other young people just as many times. “What are you going to be when you grow up?”
Responses begin with, “I want to be a mommy or daddy” as the gender would dictate. As the child matures a little the responses are enlarged to teacher, nurse, policeman, fireman, etc. At every turn I never remember a child telling me that when they grew up they wanted to be a servant. Maybe in the back of an older child the thought was there that they wanted to have enough money to have servants when they grew up, but never, not once, has there been a response of wanting to be a servant.
The disciples were arguing about who was to be the greatest. Actually, scripture says that they were “arguing” among themselves over this issue. Jesus had to remind them, once again, that that isn’t how the kingdom works. Jesus was illustrating and calling men and women to be servants, taking the lowest position possible to bring the greatest good.
Knowing ones role and fulfilling it is extremely important to the success of living out our days. Emily Gloria Wilson knew her role. She knew whom she served. She knew why she was in the employment of John Kenneth Galbraith and no one and nothing was going to get in her way of being Mr. Galbraith’s servant.
So it is with us. We are God’s servants. We serve his cause and his cause alone. We take our orders from him and from no one else, regardless of who is might be. And in being God’s servant it means that we serve others in this life regardless of who they might be. We do not have the privilege of saying, “Oh, I don’t want to serve that one because he/she stinketh” or “That person doesn’t believe in my God” or “speaks a foreign language” or “appears to be lazy” or “doesn’t agree with me politically” or a thousand and one other road blocks that we put up in our path of servanthood.
What do we want to be when we grow up? Well, we are still answering that question aren’t we?
We don’t like the servant role. We want to feel important. We want other people to take notice of us. We want, we want, we want … oops, we forgot, it isn’t about what we want, but what you desire. Help us to be servants so that we can be affective people for the Kingdom.