Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
(Philippians 2:17 ESV)
Let me introduce you to one of Jesus’ faithful servants, someone who not only washes the feet of God’s little ones, but their hands, faces and smelly bottoms also. This faithful soul feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, carries the weak, comforts the downcast, and defends those with no voice. All this at great personal cost, she has sacrificed career, finances, sleep, time, and even her own body for those she serves. What amazes and shames me is that in her serving she consistently puts others first before meeting her own legitimate needs.
This amazing woman is my wife, she is selfless in many ways that she is not even aware of. For example; when I get up in the morning I have a shower, then make my breakfast and like to quietly eat it before any of the kids get up. If my little routine is disrupted I am not happy about it. Heather on the other hand will get up to deal with the hungry child who needs his nappy changed, then feed the other kids also, get them dressed, grab a piece of toast on the run and finally rush to get herself ready. Notice the order reversal — I put myself first every step of the way, Heather puts others first every step of the way. This is not isolated to our morning routines, in almost all aspects of our family life this same dynamic occurs, she is my constant reminder of how I fail to even be an unworthy servant:
“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”
(Luke 17:7-10 ESV)
I am too selfish to even be a servant who does his duty, let alone being commended as ‘good and faithful’! (See Matthew 25:23). The true lesson to me here is that my ‘needs’ are not needs at all but rather selfish desires which war with the Spirit enticing me to sin by refusing to put others first. I have before me a living example of selfless love, all the more powerful because I know her weaknesses and exhaustion.
When you are weak my beloved, Jesus shines through you even more strongly as you struggle on in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Dear Heather, thank you for:
Your peaceful presence.
Vegetable gardens planted, tended and weeded.
Laundry washed, dried and folded.
Asking so little when you feel so empty.
Your patience and compassion towards the child who torments you (they all take turns!).
Meals prepared every day, without fail.
Our budget finely balanced.
Enduring the endless combing for lice in daughters’ hair
A clean bathroom.
A warm home.
Children taken to appointments with dentists, doctors, dietitians, dermatologists, paediatricians, asthma nurses, violin teachers and many others.
Learning an entirely new way of baking for our gluten-free girl.
Endless picking up of toys.
Great conversations over cups of tea.
Courage to confront me when I need it.
Grace to let me figure out that I’m wrong and need help.
Being my BEST friend EVER.