One does not become a butler overnight. It requires one to spend a lot of time to observing the needs and wants of his Master before he can effectively serve him. The art of servanthood is developed over time. Only after having spent a lot of time with his Master, will he understand what the Master wants, when he wants to be served, and how he wants to be served. Eventually, the servant will know exactly what his Master wants even before he does, because the servant will have anticipated his needs, always at the ready.
It takes time, devotion, and focus to anticipate the needs of another, being prepared and ready for action, before the need even arises. It is this thinking that dominates the heart of the servant. It is other-centered, and always looks to honor the one being served. This is how a servant thinks.
Anticipating The Needs Of The Father?
I willingly served my Pastor for 9 years out of a genuine love for him. Though he is only 6 years older than I, he is my spiritual father. If I may, allow me to share a snapshot of what it looks like for a servant to anticipate the needs of his Master.
Before my Pastor made his way to the pulpit in any given service, I ensured that he had a water bottle at hand. I saw to it that he had a breath mint in his pocket, and would secretly hand him another one just prior to praying for people at the alter.
During the summer months, I made sure that he had a sweat-cloth to wipe his face while he preached. I sat next to him, or immediately behind him at all times, just to ensure that I was available should he need anything, and if so, all he needed to do was to simply lean in my direction to tell me. During service, I worshiped with my eyes open, always being cognizant of where he is, (he moved around a lot), anticipating that he may communicate a need with a glance, and he often did.
As a side note, I have intentionally used the words, “servant” and “Master” to describe the relationship between my Pastor and myself. That is the servant relationship. A servant does not serve with the objective of obtaining anything out of the relationship other than a greater love for the one being served. This is the relationship I have with my Pastor.
My pastor and I have spent countless hours together under a wide spectrum of circumstances. Over the years, we have spent time on the mission field, participated in meetings, counseling sessions, served in business together, and have spent at least 20,000 miles traveling while making hilarious memories along the way. He’s a visionary, so I have spent a lot of time listening to God-given ideas that he has had. I know this man, but it didn’t happen over night. In fact, even after spending all that time spent with him, I am still learning every time we get together.
In the same way, you will find yourself anticipating the needs of the Father after you have spent considerable time with the Father. The more time you spend with him, the more you will know what he wants, and when he wants it.
Serving While Unseen
As his armor-bearer, I purpose to serve while being unseen. It’s never about the servant, but about the one being served. The reward is found in meeting the need. The joy of servanthood in found in serving. Serving is an expression of love, and love is not arrogant or proud. A “servant” who finds himself basking in the limelight, hoping to receive attention from anyone other than his Master, is not a servant. Servants don’t bask in the limelight. They stand in the shadows, alert and attentive.
When I first met my wife, Rebecca, I took her out to this (at the time), very expensive Chinese restaurant for a really nice dinner. The place was very busy, and the food was very good, but what was most memorable that evening, was the waiter who would not stop peaking out of the kitchen door to ensure that we had everything we needed. He was so attentive, so alert, so ready . . . almost too ready to serve. After all, this was a date, but I felt like he was playing peek-a-boo with us, given how many times he peaked out from the doorway to ensure that all of our needs were met. I don’t remember his name . . . I don’t even remember what he looked like, but I do remember his presence. He was always there when needed, and this is how servants are to conduct themselves. Always there when needed.
This young waiter at this restaurant taught me what it means to serve the Lord. It’s not about doing something for him, it’s about having an attitude that is ready and alert, anticipating his every need.