Encouragement 05-13-04

Published: May 13, 2004


May 13, 2004
Encouragement for Today
The Richest Servant (Part One)
Rebecca Ingram Powell
Author, Certified Speaker, Director of 2004 Writer's Track
Key Verse:
"He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form." Philippians 2:7 (NLT)

A few years ago, my husband took me on a cruise to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It was a wonderful vacation! From Samuel, who was responsible for the housekeeping on our deck, to Jorge, who served our table in the dining room, we were waited on hand and foot. I adapted well to that life of luxury and thoroughly enjoyed being spoiled for the several days of our trip! Not everyone was allowed spoiling, however. A family vacationing down the corridor from us left this note on their door one day: "Samuel, please do not clean up after the children," the father had clearly written. "They have made this mess and they will clean it up themselves."
Even if you have never taken a cruise, you may have heard that the food on board is absolutely incredible. Rich and I looked forward to each meal not only because it was delicious, but also because our server, Jorge, made it so pleasant. He served the guests at his table with efficiency and good humor. One night after dinner, Rich and I lingered at the table after the others had left. We talked with Jorge and learned he was from Portugal. Working for the cruise line was a wonderful opportunity, but it meant leaving his wife and two children for months at a time. He was willing to make this sacrifice, however, because in his small village, he was one of the few men who had a good job. In fact, in Portugal Jorge and his family were considered rich.
Jorge laughed at the irony of it. He, too, was a servant, like many of his fellow villagers. He worked a 16-hour day. He prepared food, served three meals, cleaned up, and was responsible for training his assistant.
"I work the same as them," he said in his thick accent. "But I am the richest servant because of who I work for!"
During his precious eight hours off each night, Jorge told us he tried to sleep or get his laundry done. Many of the crew members, he explained, spent their off hours in search of women or drugs when the ship was docked. Not Jorge. He didn't want to do anything that would interfere with his doing his best during the long workday. He refused to jeopardize his employment and in turn the well-being of his family.
As a mother, I find myself serving my family every day. I often think of Jorge and his commitment to his role of servant. Jorge woke up every morning with one thing on his mind: his job. For the next sixteen hours, he would be preparing, serving, cleaning, and training. Everything he did was tied to his role as servant, and yet, what makes this man so memorable to me is his smile. He served with gladness. How can anyone who serves another consider himself to be rich? What keeps the smile on a servant's face? Tomorrow we will take a deeper look at servanthood.

My prayer for today:
Dear Father, Please bless my family with a joyful mother today. Help me to serve them with gladness. May I embrace the role of servant and relish every opportunity to love my family with my actions. Strengthen me for the day's tasks with a joyful energy.

Application Steps:
As you go about serving your family today, consider how precious each moment is. Avoid any thought, word, or deed that would jeopardize your job and the well-being of your family. Don't forget to smile!

Reflection points:
How do you respond to your daily tasks?
Do you find yourself snapping at your kids and/or husband because of your workload? Have your children seen an example of one who serves with gladness?
For whom are you working? Are you doing everything as though you were doing it for the Lord?
When people think of you, are you known for a big smile and a willingness to serve? Would you like to be thought of in that way?
Do you find joy in pampering other people? Do you like making people feel extra special, or are you bitter because no one is making you feel that way?
Power Verses:
Matthew 20:28, "For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many." (NLT) 
Luke 4:8, "Jesus replied, "The Scriptures say, 'You must worship the Lord your God; serve only him.' "(NLT)
Romans 7:6, "But now we have been released from the law, for we died with Christ, and we are no longer captive to its power. Now we can really serve God, not in the old way by obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way, by the Spirit." (NLT)
Romans 12:11, "Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically."
I Corinthians 7:35, "I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible." (NLT)

Additional Resources:
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
Baby Boot Camp by Rebecca Ingram Powell
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries

Originally published Thursday, 13 May 2004.