by Adrian Ho
How do you know you have a servant heart? Look at your reaction when you are treated like one. —Erwin W. Lutzer
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. —Hebrews 12:1
During our Vacation Training Programme, we did our community service at Willing Hearts, a secular, non-affiliated charity that operates a soup kitchen. We had to prepare 5000 daily meals and send them for distribution, island-wide. With the huge amount of food preparation involved, long hours of hard work with no rest was only natural.
Upon arrival, one of the brothers and I were tasked with cooking rice. To my surprise, it was a manageable responsibility as I could take a break while waiting for the rice to cook. I thanked God that my assignment wasn’t as tough, compared to what others were asked to do. While I was resting, the overall in-charge saw that I was available and reassigned me to another task. To my horror, I was brought to a basin filled with fish heads that had to be gutted. After demonstrating how to clean the fish heads, the in-charge left me alone with a pair of blunt scissors and 10 fish heads. Without any gloves or apron, I hesitated to begin work and tried looking for alternatives or for someone to replace me.
As I struggled to remove fish gills and innards, I complained to God. I told Him how unwilling and unhappy I was. I said this would be my last visit. Fish blood was splattering all over me and I felt disgusted and discomforted. I also sustained minor cuts from the sharp bones and gills. To add fuel to fire, comments like “this is the least favourable job in the kitchen” only intensified my frustration. Clearly there was nothing positive in my mind when serving required me to dirty my hands.
Somehow, the Lord led me to take a minute to ponder over my heart’s condition. Recognising the fact that I couldn’t go on negatively, I sang praises to God. It was my attempt to turn to God with a thankful heart and to fix my eyes on Jesus. Awhile later, the in-charge expressed his gratitude for my hard work. He mentioned that those fish heads were for a group of old folks. He indicated that they would appreciate this dish and their hearts would be delighted. His comment revealed my self-centredness, how I had wallowed in self-pity and chose to remain in my comfort zone. I was reminded of my purpose for going to Willing Hearts, which was to serve God and bless His people. Thereafter, I was encouraged and motivated to continue my task. I began to serve with joy, thankfulness and willingness.
Jesus had fixed His eyes on the joy set before Him—the joy of being with the Father, in spite of the shame brought on by the cross. My service should be for the purposes of pleasing God and bringing joy to others. Otherwise it will only be marked by resentment and bitterness.
May the Lord use our willing hearts and hands for His purpose in our lives.