This following excerpt was written for an email distribution that found its way back to me. I came to find out that the man this author was speaking about is my dad. I have learned so much from my dad and I have come to admire him for his service and dedication.
Please also visit their blog to learn more about all that my dad’s church is doing to help Laredo, TX.
Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant. Mark 10:44
About 12 years ago while on a short-term mission trip to Nuevo Laredo Mexico with about 5 other men, we served lunch to about 300 women and children in a vacant lot in that city. We used the shell of an abandoned building as the kitchen and served them on paper plates with plastic forks and cups. Afterwards, one of the guys came to me and pointed out that the empty lot was now strewn with plates, forks and cups. He seemed irritated, and so I started to explain that the people were poor and didn’t know any better – but I was bothered by it as well and it was showing. At that point he interrupted me, telling me that wasn’t his point. He then took me to the other side of the building and told me to look out that door and then asked me to tell him what I saw. It was more vacant lot with garbage everywhere – but one thing was different. One of the men traveling with us, a man we really hardly knew at that time, had a garbage bag in his hand and was all the way in the back of the lot quietly stooping and picking up every piece of trash. He never stopped and he never looked up. He wasn’t doing it to be noticed, he was just quietly still serving the people. We stood and watched in amazement at the simple humility of this guy, realizing that we were in the presence of a ‘great’ man.
That scene will forever be etched in my mind as the first example I had ever witnessed of what it meant to be a true servant of God. Not long after, that man – a businessman himself from Chicago – received his calling and is now the Pastor of a thriving little church and ministry in Laredo Texas. He has been used to touch the lives of many, many people, and has found fulfillment and happiness like few people I have ever known. He was “playing to an audience of one” that day and with his simple act of service, he was proven ready for a wonderful promotion which is now his life’s calling. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you…..” 1 Peter 5:6
My point is this; Many of us think we know what we want out of life. But much of what we think we want and spend endless hours pursuing turns out being empty when we finally get it. We’re not happy where we are, doing what we are doing, getting paid what we are getting paid. We whine and complain, try to self promote ourselves, or we desperately seek recognition for accomplishments that turn out to be utterly meaningless. We may believe in our head that God has a plan for our lives – but we don’t see anything happening so we get frustrated and we let our faith die a slow death as “nothing” ever happens.
BUT – we never learned the most important lesson, and one I learned by watching our friend that day. True Christ-like love serves others without any expectation or need to be recognized. Do you love others more than yourself? Are you willing to humble yourself and quietly pick-up the trash carelessly dropped by another person in Nuevo Laredo Mexico – or anywhere else on earth? Are you willing to stoop and wash another’s dirty feet? If not – good luck in finding out God’s plan for your life. You’ll need it, because until you can learn to wear the drab mantle of true humility, as Jesus did when He walked among us, you’ll waste your life chasing after illusions and momentary highs that never seem to satisfy.
BUT – If you can learn to serve others, without needing to be recognized by anyone but the One we truly serve, you will be on the way to finding your calling. I am not saying you’ll end up in another city with a ministry of your own necessarily, but you will find fulfillment and joy like you never expected. Start now, just open your eyes, set aside your pride, and begin to serve others right where you are today.
Prayer: Lord help me to lead by serving others no matter what their position is – high or low. Use me to touch others for eternity by respecting them and loving them as you do. In that, I trust that you will lead me to my calling. In Jesus name I pray. Amen!
You can also read my other post on why this man has inspired me so much.