The Heart of the Matter by Rachel Coltharp
The person with a servant’s heart catches a glimpse of the big picture. Their heart sings His song, preaches His sermon, writes His words, and builds His church.
I’m not one for pain. I’m a big baby in fact. I run from every pain-producing event I can. But recently I’ve started realizing that even painful experiences are productive. .. If you want to know if you have a servant s heart, wait until you get treated like one, then see how you react.” I don’t remember who said that but I will never forget it. I thought I knew what it was to have a servant’s heart. I had done various things in the line of service-everything from teaching Bible lessons and speaking to several thousand people to scrubbing toilets, all done willingly and gladly. So it was with great surprise that I found out that doing things is not necessarily having a servant’s heart-a servant’s hands perhaps, but a servant’s heart is another matter entirely.
I know because of an up close and personal experience. While at a large conference where I was speaking, I asked a gentleman a question. I do not know what it was about my question that warranted his response. It could have been my speech or my southernisms that betray my roots-maybe that was it. Maybe it was my appearance. I am short, plain, and present a rather unimpressive visage. Whatever the reason, his response was crystal clear. He summarily dismissed me as a (person of no consequence). He answered my questions with what I interpreted as intellectual snobbery. His assumptions about my intellect, or lack thereof, were apparent. In short, he talked down to me.
I wanted to parade out my credentials (few though they are), drop a few names, bandy about my accomplishments and awards (again pitiful and few), and ask him, Do you know who you’re talking to? And then it hit me. Ah, so this is what it feels like to be treated like a servant-not to be asked to do a service, then to be thanked and recognized for it, but to be dismissed out-of-hand. No, to be treated like a servant is to be seen somehow as less than the other person. And in that moment I found out that I had been serving with the hands of a servant but not the heart of one.
The hands of a servant do what is asked, expected, demanded. They merely do a job. The hands of a servant say in effect, “my job, my song, my service, my ministry, and my church.” There are many who will do the work of the servant without having servant’s heart. The person with a servant’s heart catches a glimpse of the big picture. Their heart sings His song, preaches His sermon, writes His words, and builds His church. That person expects no recompense, reward, or recognition. He does not simply work toward the good of the job, but toward the good of the kingdom.
That encounter has changed my perspective completely. Seeing myself through that man’s eyes helped me see myself more clearly. And not just see myself, but change myself.
“If you want to know if you have a servant’s heart, wait until you get treated like one, then see how you react.”
Ouch. I guess pain is my friend after all. –
Rachel Coltharp and her husband, Brent, live in Aurora, Illinois. Brent serves as the pastor of First Apostolic Church in Aurora.
www.pentecostalhearld.com AUGUST 2009