Saturday, May 30, 2020

You must learn to serve


“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20 vs. 26-28).”



A couple of posts ago I talked about arrogantly quitting my retail job after graduating college. I thought I was above sales, destined for much greater things but after being unemployed for a year, even sales began looking good to me. During that time period God taught me humility, one of the most important things for a Christian to have. It was a hard learned lesson but when I got another job, I believed it to be a reward for finally mastering it. And I did, somewhat but there was still more to know; now I had to learn to be humble enough to serve.




Before I became a flight attendant I was employed by a major tech company doing ad sales (another job I didn’t necessarily enjoy), when God directed my path to flying. The first time I had the thought I dismissed it as my own foolish musings but shortly after God affirmed to me it was indeed His will. It was a hard pill for me to swallow; I had such grandiose plans for my life, serving drinks and snacks to a plane full of people were not part of it.


I’d never considered a career as a flight attendant before that time, in fact up until that point I had only been on a plane twice: going and returning from a missionary trip to the Dominican Republic. However there I was, an inexperienced flyer called to make a living doing just that. I didn’t know what to think, but I’d already learned, no matter how difficult the task or how out of line with your plan for your life, to obey God.




“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is The Lord’s purpose that prevails (Proverbs 19 Vs. 21).”



I applied to most of the legacy airlines, went on two interviews, got hired, and went away for training within three months of the time God asked it of me. I was obedient but scared and sad. The day I left home I locked myself in the bathroom and cried like a baby. I’d never been away for more than a week or two now I had to leave my family to continue my own personal journey with Christ. I was apprehensive but I did it.


All in all, training was okay; I passed with flying colors. I even received the distinction of being valedictorian, which was not surprising because The Lord promises those obedient to His will that He will give them every where their foot touches. But even with God’s favor I felt the difficulty of the task, even more acutely when I was assigned Philadelphia not NYC (my home), as my base. What the movies don’t tell you is, flying isn’t always pretty scarves and exotic locations. Often it’s sixteen hour days, small towns, multiple flights, low pay, little sleep, and lonely.


One particularly stressful day, which was nothing more than the usual: difficult passengers, screaming babies, turbulence, and a 3am wake up call I had all but decided I was through. I remember performing my service (serving drinks and snacks) all the while inwardly lamenting my circumstances. I asked myself why I am I doing this? “I have a degree, I graduated with honors, and I’m smart. Why am I serving people drinks for a living?” Clear as day I heard God say to me, “To lead you must learn to serve.” I trembled at this beautifully profound response. I asked forgiveness for the folly of my pride, resolved to be a good steward of the job God had given me, and to learn what God wanted me to in being in that position.


Throughout my four plus years tenure as a flight attendant, I’ve thought about serving, what God was teaching me. What I realized is, although my job was to be responsive and hasty to every need of my passengers I was of no less value than the pilots, the business class passengers, or anyone else. In fact my value was in my service. I’ve helped elderly and disabled passengers on & off the aircraft & sometimes to the restroom. Waited with special needs passengers for special assistance, looked after unaccompanied minors, deciphered someone’s need despite not speaking the same language, picked up after a plane full of people. And you know what? It took absolutely nothing away from me to do those things; it is not dishonorable to be a help to others, it is a jewel in your crown.


“After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him (John 13 vs. 5).”


When Jesus began washing the feet of His disciples’ Simon Peter was shocked. Peter couldn’t reconcile Jesus (the master) lowering Himself to serve the servants. He believed he should be the one to wash the feet of Jesus, I would have felt the same way but Jesus understood the value and power in serving.


“Do you understand what I have done for you? He asked them. You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘Lord’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet (John 13 vs. 12-14).”


Jesus says to His disciples if He has washed their feet then they should do the same to others. This may not be a literal washing of feet but in services of kindness unto one another and the world. I was forced to learn to serve without having a say so in the way I interacted with others (professionalism) until patience and kindness became my nature.


Today I encourage you, as I daily remind myself to be clothed in charity and kindness, not withholding good from anyone when it is in your power to act.    


As always I’d love to hear from you, drop a comment below and if you enjoyed this post please share, like, and repost.

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