One of my prayers for myself is that I would have a servant’s heart. I pray it straight from the verse Galatians 6:9: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
I’m not very good at having that kind of heart though. I’m stubborn and prideful, and I often think I know better than anyone else. God’s doing a work in me, but I’m not there yet, and that’s okay.
Tonight, I was reading through part of Jodie Berndt’s Praying the Scriptures for your Children, and I felt the sting of conviction. Berndt was discussing praying for a servant’s heart for our children and giving examples of what a servant’s heart looks like in action. I realized that I had seen evidence of that kind of heart in action many times recently and often overlooked it.
Rose is a very pushy and demanding child. I’m pretty sure that her love language is personal time because she wants attention, and she often wants it at the expense of your ability to take care of the other children. Even before we had Monkey and Owlet, I used to say that she had middle child syndrome.
Lately though, I’ve noticed something much more. Rose has been kind and nurturing, especially to Owlet. When Owlet gets tired, sometimes she snuggles up with Rose and takes a nap. Rose keeps her arm around her and helps her go to sleep with very few complaints about discomfort or inconvenience.
There are other examples, but recently she did something for me really stands out. It was a day when I had a lot of housework to do, but I also had some fun stuff planned for the kids. We had been away from the house all morning, and had stopped by Wendy’s for Frostys on the way in. Owlet and Monkey had made a tremendous mess with the ice cream, and I had to go and give them immediate baths.
While I was gone, Rose organized herself and Firecracker to clean the ice cream off the table that Monkey and Owlet had been sitting at. When I got the toddlers out of the bathtub, Rose and Firecracker were washing the dishes that I had in the sink because Rose knew that doing dishes were one of the things that stood in the way of our fun afternoon.
They didn’t do a perfect job. There was water all over the floor and the dishes weren’t exactly clean, but I really appreciated the gesture (One of my favorite things is when people do things for me!). I helped them fix the damage they were doing in the kitchen. Then, I cancelled the chores that I had planned for the afternoon, and started doing some baking and crafting fun.
I don’t know what motivated Rose to clean for me and to serve me like that. Maybe it was a desire to make me happy. Maybe she wanted to do something for me. Most likely, she wanted to be able to spend the time with me later in the afternoon having fun. No matter what motivated it, I’ll forever remember how she invested her free time in helping me instead of playing.
That’s what someone with a servant’s heart does. They help make the day a success without needing rewarded. Instead, they look to the success of the day and the success of their actions in smoothing the way as their own reward. I hope that I can provide as clear a model of service to the children as Rose provided to me on that day not so long ago.