I work the front desk at a hotel. I’m a newbie and am trying desperately to get the hang of things. I have not known a day without mistakes, but, there is grace and patience for each and every one (at least, so far! 🙂 ) The hotel has not burned to the ground and no one has died…so, I suppose I’m doing something right.
Some days are busier than others. Last night was the busiest I’ve known thus far. My fellow coworker and I were bombarded with endless amounts of requests, complaints, check ins, phone calls, etc. It seemed at most points to be way too much for just the two of us, and it seemed to never end.
It’s the nature of the job.
But, how quick was I to begin complaining.
My feet hurt from standing for 8+ hours. My lower back was not willing to support me any longer. My smiles became forced, and as I stared at the slow moving clock, I longed for 11PM to come.
I wanted the phones to stop ringing. I wanted people to stop asking me questions. I wanted to close my eyes and somehow disappear.
My job is guest service. I am there to serve. Nothing more, nothing less, I am a servant to the guests of the hotel.
But, I did not want to serve. All I could think of was me, myself, and I.
At times, the evil in me is frightening. I am capable of thinking and doing horrific things. More than often, I feel as Paul did in his letter to the Romans…
“For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing…” (7:15; 17-18)
O wretched man that I am.
I’m a terrible servant.
I have a bent towards desiring to serve people if there’s something in it for me, if I somehow will benefit from my “service” to another. I will serve, often, in search of a certain response, something to boost my ego and boost my self-esteem. (Not that my “Self-esteem” needs to be boosted any higher. I esteem myself far too much and esteem Christ far too little.)
The problem is…I want to be a great servant. I want to be like Christ, and He was the ultimate servant.
I memorized the book of Philippians last year, and my Scripture readings have brought me back to the book this week.
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (2:3-4)
This verse is followed by what is often called the “Philippian Hymn”. Paul writes down the example of ultimate humility:
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
I look at the example of humility and servanthood and love displayed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and I can only fall to my knees in repentance.
I was also reminded of a few verses later when Paul writes, “Doall thingswithout grumbling or questioning”. NO complaining, Shara.
Count others more significant than yourselves.
Why is that so hard?
Why is it so hard to truly love people. Not just loving being around people. Not just loving to be loved by people. But truly loving people.
I have come to understand love far more as a decision as opposed to fluffy feelings. We can’t control our feelings. Our feelings change more often than we even realize. But, we can always control how we act, how we respond. And, I have come to see that as a crucial part of love.
The decision to serve someone humbly even when they are unkind to you.
The decision to serve someone humbly who cannot repay you in any way.
The decision to serve someone humbly whowillnot repay you in any way.
The decision to serve someone humbly who is unappealing and unlovely.
Jesus did not come to die for us because we are lovely, but in order to make us lovely.
“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt 20:26-28.
I know that I receive a paycheck for serving guests at the hotel I work at. I’m technically “paid to serve them”. But, last night as I lay in my bed in prayer before the Lord, I asked Him to help me to serve my coworkers and serve the guests out of humility and love for them, stemming from obedience to the Lord. So that, in whatever I do, I will work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
I begged the Lord to teach me to die to self, to be a servant, and to love people. Perhaps this job is just another part of the sanctification process. I pray by His grace, He will enable me to bring Him glory in thought, word, and deed.
Christ humbled himself and became a servant out of obedience to the Father and for the glory of the Father. May my life do the same in all aspects….within friendships and family relationships, and, if it be the Lord’s will, within a marriage and family of my own.
Father, help me to love and serve people well, with joy and humility, out of obedience to You. Whether it is checking someone in, throwing away trash, or sending up shampoo and extra blankets. No matter what it looks like or might entail, help me to love as Christ has loved me.