Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Slave of All?

I was recently considering the phrase, "Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant."  I just looked up the passage and Jesus goes on in His teaching to His disciples,

"And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."  Mark 10:43b-45

Especially the idea of "slave of all" stands out to me.  I've been mulling over it for a few days.  I've been considering my life and my choices and trying to match it up.  Do I serve others as a slave to them?   What would that look like?  Do I lay my life down for the people God has placed in my life?  I think I do.  I mean, many or most of the tasks I perform in a day are important services for my children and for the improvement of our home, whereby everybody benefits.  It would seem that my life is devoted to serving others...but...is it?  

My spouse and I have been talking through some conflict off and on this week and it was this that caused me to consider further if I am really taking a servant's mindset.  I was noticing last night how much I want to lean on him and depend upon him, which affects my decision-making.  If he is reading to the kids, I am just glad that he's handling it so that I can get something else done or get a minute to myself.  I disappear.  Then I'm nowhere around when it's time to put the kids to bed and he ends up doing it.  If he regularly pitches in with the dishes, I begin to assume that he will take care of that and I can use the time to accomplish a personal task that's important to me.  I had been thinking of these types of decisions more in the light of being task-oriented and dividing labor effectively.  But I find I am being naive about my motives in certain regards and actually depending on him instead of being dependable for him.   

These days I don't like to waste time.  I want to get a lot done and there is A LOT to do!  Sometimes other people are just too slow for me.   Let me emphasize the last words of that last sentence, for me.  (doesn't really sound like the slave of all, does it?)  Being task-oriented can be good.  But I think it can actually militate against a true servant mindset sometimes.  It takes setting aside my own agenda, no matter how good it is, to just be available for others, whatever they need.  Man, that can be hard.  It isn't wasted time, but it sure can feel like it initially.  When I realize that I view it that way, then I can see how it must come across to those who are depending upon me. 

My pride resists this kind of self-rebuke.  The things I'm doing are important.  Really, I ought to be recognized for them.  But the truth is that the people around me need to feel important.  Important enough that I stop everything to be there for them (not just for emergencies).  That I set aside my own goals to be actively pursuing activities that will make them feel supported and able to depend upon me. 

I was considering Jesus' life as I was mulling over these thoughts.  He made Himself the embodiment of other people's needs.  I have begun a Bible-reading program for the new year and look forward to working my way through the gospels and focusing on looking at His life, that I might gain more insight into how to live this way.

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