Active Loving: Developing A Servant Heart
After my regular scan of the reduced section in M&S (#studentliving) I often end up being served by the same particular lady. She has to be the most happy person I have ever met at a checkout! She makes conversation with every single customer, asking how they are feeling or about their plans for the day.
Just when I had decided to feature her in this post, I didn't see her in the store for about two weeks! I was developing a bit of an obsessive habit to search M&S for her every time I passed, but fortunately on the very last day of term my friend Katie and I popped in and got a chance to chat to her.
After a subtle processing of her name badge we found out that she was called Maureen, and we asked her about her attitude to work. Maureen told us about how she loves chatting to customers and especially welcoming new students. She is even learning how to small talk in Chinese, French and German for the purpose of making international students in Durham feel at home!
Here is the lovely Maureen:
I don't know exactly what motivates Maureen to keep such a positive approach every day at work, but she really inspired me to think more about developing an attitude of humility and a willingness to serve others. I read a quote a while ago that described how we can recognise if we are developing servant hearts by how we respond when we are treated like a servant.
When I feel unfairly treated, so often my initial response is to react by feeling unfairly wronged - ending up in feelings of inflated self-worth rather than renewed humility.
However, Maureen serves as such an example here - even when she is faced with unfriendly or dismissive customers she stays positive and interested in others, making her job worthwhile and fulfilling despite its ordinary nature.
Having a servant heart means that we can show our love to others, simply by becoming more like the person God intended us to be.
This frees us up from being preoccupied with the comfort of ourselves and allows us to be more generous in the way we invest time and energy in others. Romans 12:10 says:
"Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves."
This means that we should reject the world's judgement and standards of others and stop valuing people based on their appearance, wealth, popularity or personality. Instead, we're reminded that every single person is so valued and precious in God's eyes. It's so important to remember that our worth is found in who we are in Christ, and by becoming more like Jesus we can develop the spirit of humility that God intends for us.
Martin Luther King said that: "Anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love."
When our ways are 'generated by love' we begin to find real fulfilment in all that we do, because we are doing it for God's glory and not to please ourselves. So I've been encouraged this week to try and develop a real spirit of humility and to recognise opportunities where I can serve others, even in ordinary situations. We make an influence on every person that we meet, and one of the best ways we can demonstrate God's love to them is to try and reflect that by serving them in whichever way possible.