"Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all" Mark 9:35
I am sure you know a servant. I don't mean a household servant- you know, a maid or cook or something like that, but one of those genuine people. One of those people who, if you said that you really needed a new sweater, they would give you the very one they are wearing- even if it was their only sweater. Those people who, no matter how full the calendar will make time to help you with a project- or give you materials for a project, despite actually needing them for their own project. The things is, as I read this verse this morning, I thought of the many servants that I know- and it just made me smile. I thought about these friends that we cherish so much, and I wish we had more opportunities to just spend time with them all, and bless them for being such servants. And then I thought, no wonder they'll be first in heaven- no wonder Jesus wants to spend eternity with them! Then my thinking took a turn towards the idea that we didn't just know one person like this- we know many, and I was thinking about that, pondering that, when it came to me. I'm MARRIED to one.
Lest you think that this is some kind of mushy gushy post about how wonderful my husband is, let me just say right off the bat that it seems this is headed more in the direction of a confession. (I mean, yes, my husband is wonderful and all...) The thing is, there have been many, many times when the fact that my husband has a servant's heart annoys the snot out of me. Sometimes his desire to help everyone around him can interfere with plans we may have at home. There are definitely times where dinner is ready, and I send the kids to tell him, and imagine that- Daddy is not to be found. Usually he makes his way back after a while from a neighbors house, where he helped move some furniture or helped diagnose a tree problem or some other crazy thing. Or like this past winter, Andy was laid off for a good three months, and you would think we got to spend time with him here at home... not so much. When he wasn't out doing something to earn a few dollars, he was throwing himself into projects just because he had the time to lend a helping hand.
More than once, I have found myself starting to get angry when he runs off on another project- or is so quick to volunteer. But also more than once, I find that that anger gets headed off by a reminder- a not so gentle reminder sometimes- from the Holy Spirit. A reminder that my husband has a servant's heart, and I need to be supportive of that. It's not as easy as that though, I have to admit. Usually though, God brings a few verses to mind- or a passage of the Bible, and pretty much, I end up shaking my head at myself. I am reminded to be thankful for the husband with the servant's heart, and I end up praying for him that he would stay safe while he's out being busy helping everyone he can. And in fact, I have found, that as time has gone on the tables have almost turned a little bit- something comes up, and I encourage Andy to help out. Because as time as passed, I have found that I don't like being the wife at home, getting angry because my schedule has been interrupted.
Ah, that schedule. The household schedule that says we do certain things at certain times- and my husband of all people should know and adhere to that schedule. We have discovered that by letting the schedule go- the harmony and peace in the household has multiplied so greatly. The thing is, there is always more time. There is always a few more minutes, a few more hours, or even another day. If I don't get the dishes done today because dinner was so late, there will always be tomorrow to get them done. If I don't get the pile of laundry done on the day I originally planned to do it- guess what? The world is not going to come to an end. Instead I do what I can and do a load of laundry every day that week. The thing is, God made time. God made time, and he made us, and we, as citizens of heaven, need to realize that time was made for us- and it is God's will that we make time work for us, instead of against us. God's already made that easy by giving us more time- there will always be a tomorrow!
I didn't realize I was going in this direction today... but as I'm typing, I see where these two things completely go together. My biggest frustration with Andy having that servant's heart was that his willingness to help almost always interfered with time. Our time that we did things- even vacations were interrupted by his willingness to help a stranger! Well, I needed to realize, first of all that the time wasn't really mine to get upset about- time belongs to God, and He is gracious enough to give me all I need. And secondly, I needed to realize that when my husband was so willing to lend a hand- that God saw that, and if I could get on board with that servant's attitude, that time would simply not be an issue. And I really and truly see that at work. When I give Andy my blessing to go be a servant, I find that I get more things done throughout the day. Where I would love to have him at home, helping to get housework done sometimes, or doing yard work, he is out helping someone, and I find that I have more than enough time to get my things done. Somehow, I can get the house company ready in half the time that it would usually take both of us.
God blesses the willing heart. All that time that I was groaning over Andy being such a servant, he was being blessed, but I imagine that I probably missed out on a lot of those blessings because I was being stingy and protective of our time. It ultimately came to the point where I pretty much just gave up. I talked to God and I told him to go nuts- to put Andy in the right places at the right times to be a blessing to people- and as a result, our household has been soooo much more wonderful. Our time together as a family is usually sweeter- and it seems to last longer. When we have a rare day where we are all at home together, the day seems to go slower for us- what a blessing that is! Over this past lay-off time, Andy volunteered at Abigail's dance school, simply to be a blessing and to help out, and the rewards from that have been so much more than we could have even imagined. He set out to bless a family with his talents, and in turn, the family blessed him in so many ways.
So as I read verses like this today, all this long story here is to simply say I found myself lacking a servant's heart. Which my husband had. And if I wanted harmony in the household someone had to change. And that would be me. I had to change- I had to be willing, and I had to just give something that seemed so precious to God. And now it doesn't seem so precious to me. The concept of time... the idea that there is only so much time... God blessed us so much by showing us that time- the clock and the hours and minutes in a day really don't matter so much. That if we had the willing hearts, there would always be more time.