Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


A Servant’s Heart

A servant with a true heart will respond like a servant when treated like one.

I’ve heard that or something close to it said a couple of times, and to be very honest, the first time I heard it, I was kind of shocked. Not because of the idea. It makes sense. But because I’d never thought of it that way.

A Christian is Christlike, right? In public school, when I was in 5th grade, there was a question on a test that said, What does “Christian” mean?

Correct Answer: A follower of Christ. (I missed it, because I spelled follower wrong. A flower of Christ just doesn’t have the same meaning.)

A follower of Christ is one who walks with him. Does what He did. They’re like Christ.

I get that, because in Okie Land when I was a kid, most little girls were taught to act like that. In fact, I don’t remember a girl in grade school who didn’t at least claim a church.

And it wasn’t only our parents who taught us that kind of thing. School teachers did, too. “Be nice. Play fair. Don’t leave anyone out. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Remember the Golden Rule.”

Matthew 7:12

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Trouble is these days, people don’t always respond in kind. If I’m nice to you, you’re supposed to be nice to me. Right?

Philippians 2:5-7

5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.


What, exactly, was a servant back in Jesus time? Probably not someone named Jeeves, who wore a tux and answered the door when the bell rang. And probably not a woman who wore a white apron and silly cap, who bobbed curtseys and said, “Yes, mum.”

I’ve mentioned I’m not a Bible scholar. I’m not a Bible historian, either. I can’t tell you exactly how a servant was treated during the time Christ was on earth, but I can’t imagine it being much fun.

I doubt the family the servant worked for remembered please and thank you or gave them the same food as the family ate. Or a clean bed to sleep in.

I think a servant’s role was to work his/her heart out for a family that was more often than not rude and ungrateful. They were probably talked down to, berated and blamed for things they didn’t do.

I figure with all the drama in a household, they were supposed to do their work in a cheerful manner. (Who wants to be around a grouchy servant? I don’t even like grouchy waitresses.) And, of course, a servant should fade into the woodwork but be johnny-on-the-spot when needed.

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Ever been treated like a servant and had your hair catch on fire? I have. 😦

Ever been treated like a servant and treated that person like a servant right back? I have. 😦

Ever been treated like a servant and left in a huff, never to return? I have. 😦

Ever seen someone you love treated like a servant, and not been able to forgive it, even after many, many years? I have. 😦

Ever wish you could have “helped” God when He decided what a true Christian is? I have. 😦

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I don’t mind serving, as long as I don’t get treated as if that’s my due. I want to be appreciated. Loved. Applauded. Appreciated for what I’ve done.

But Jesus wasn’t. He was beaten. Spit on. Denied. Nailed to a cross for my sins.

After all that, He said, Father forgive them. They just don’t get it. Yet. (My paraphrase.)

Luke 23:34

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Forgive me, Lord, when I just don’t get it. Yet.