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Cultivating a Servant’s Heart


I’m working in another city this week, a city I’ve never visited, so I’m having difficulty getting around. It has more roundabouts (I like them) than I’ve seen in any other American city but their frontage roads (and there are lots of these) and roads with medians are making it challenging. On top of that, the city is sandwiched between two large lakes so it’s been tough keeping north, north. Overall, it’s been frustrating.

What’s the connection between this city and a servant’s heart? Both require patience, lots of patience. Jesus had that patience. It was that patience that helped Him when people didn’t understand His teachings.

So how do we go about cultivating a servant’s heart? Just as a gardener prepares the soil, waits for the right temperature, plants his seeds, waters them, marvels as the sunlight works with the plant’s chlorophyll and works to keep the weeds out of the garden, we need to work at growing a servant’s heart.

In Matthew 13:3-23, Jesus tells the parable of the sower and explains its meaning. We want to be good soil, that is, “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the Word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” Understanding is more than head knowledge, its doing what God’s Word says; we must be obedient.

Who is the light of the world? Jesus is, He said “…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) If we bask in who Jesus is, do what He says, seek to walk closer to Him, He will be the light our hearts need to grow. As an added benefit, spending more time with Jesus each day will brighten our day.

We need air to breath, and so do plants, we both die without oxygen. In Genesis 2:7, God “…breathed into his [man’s] nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” God wants us to have an abundant life, but that doesn’t mean we will always have lots of food, money or stuff, though we might. He wants our lives to be rich in the things that we cannot carry away in our hand (Ecclesiastes 5:15), that is, we need to invest ourselves in others. That’s one of the goals of Riverlawn’s small group ministries, investing ourselves in others. If you aren’t in one, sign-up this week!

What about water for plants, well that could be our tears, tears we might hold back, when we witness sadness of some kind. While I’ve been away, I’ve seen parents who are old, caring for their severely disabled adult child. The one in a wheelchair who could not feed themselves. As a parent myself I wondered, who will provide that loving care when the parent is gone? I asked God to bless these dedicated parents as they continue to pour themselves into the care of those the world has no time for. Here at Riverlawn you can volunteer to help those who call in with a need by being part of the SOS ministry, that is be a “Servant on Standby.” They are available year round, not just on the “Great Day of Service.”

I hope you see that cultivating a servant’s heart is, like farming, a full-time job. Make time to spend with God, talking to Him, reading His Word and listening for “…the sound of a low whisper” (I Kings 19:12). Make time to serve others, to put them ahead of ourselves. In doing this, we will produce a yield, who knows maybe a hundredfold, or sixty, or maybe thirty. I want to leave this earth exhausted; God has promised us rest in eternity, “…’Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.” (Revelations 14:13)

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