Preparing meals, washing dishes, cleaning house, doing laundry, homeschooling our kids, and opening our home to host college students — these are not the most glamorous jobs in the world! They are the behind-the-scenes, have-to-be-done, serving jobs that don’t get noticed and aren’t always that much fun. But as a missionary mom, these activities have required my devotion for most of the past 17 years we have lived in Japan.
To be honest, I have struggled at times with feeling like my contribution is not very valuable. I have longed to be more directly involved in the exciting and recognized parts of ministry. However, over the years, God has reminded me repeatedly that these serving jobs are actually a high calling. These serving jobs are a chance to imitate Jesus, the GREATEST SERVANT OF ALL!
Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV) says …
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.”
Through this verse, and others like it, God has given me encouraging insights into the great value of servanthood. Here are some of the important truths I have realized:
(1) Servanthood is not the dregs of ministry. It is a high calling. When I serve others, I am imitating Jesus, who purposefully took the form of a servant when he came to earth. What a great privilege!
(2) Serving must be an effective way of ministering to others, since it is the method that Jesus chose for himself. Perhaps it is the best way!
(3) I don’t naturally see serving as something to pursue or to give my life to. But who am I to think that servanthood is beneath me? If it was good enough for Jesus, then it is certainly good enough for me.
(4) Serving others is what Jesus asks me to do. It’s not the result of other people taking advantage of me.
(5) Serving others makes my life much more fruitful and meaningful than if I were to cling to my rights and make my own welfare or pleasure my highest goal.
(6) To truly serve like Jesus did, my attitude needs to be like his. Jesus modeled serving in humility, not serving out of anger or resentment. Begrudging service is not glorifying to God!
I still struggle to rejoice in mundane acts of service, but this Bible verse and these helpful insights have encouraged me immensely. I am learning to see acts of service as a high calling and a meaningful contribution to God’s kingdom.
Renee and her husband Bryan have been on staff with the Navigators in Japan for over seventeen years. They serve at the University of Utsunomiya where they lead a ministry of evangelism and discipleship through a campus club called The BEST Club. (BEST stands for Bible, English, Sports, and Travel). They have been blessed with three kids: Austin (14), Ethan (13), and Katie (9). Renee loves investing in women, laughing with her kids, and going on adventure bicycle dates with her husband. Her favorite part of ministering in Japan is introducing Jesus to people who are hearing about Him for the very first time.