Little Johnny was engrossed in finishing a drawing on what had been a blank piece of paper. It was time to put the crayons down and move to another activity, but the teacher couldn’t convince him to put it away. “What have you drawn?” the teacher asked. “God,” said little Johnny, “I’m drawing God.” “Hmmmm…” said the teacher, “But Johnny, no one knows what God looks like.” “If you’ll let me finish this they will!” said Johnny.
I think maybe I’ve seen God’s hands.
I’ve seen God’s hands with calluses on Sunday School teachers who work hard all week to make a living then spend time to prepare a lesson. I’ve seen them speckled with paint as they volunteered to paint the home of one who was not able to get it done on their own. I’ve seen God’s hands in a nursing home caring for friends who could not care for themselves. I’ve seen God’s hands as they volunteer to sweep a floor or wash dishes. I’ve seen splinters and blisters on hands after they have spent their Saturday cutting firewood for a widow. Those hands have not won any Nobel prizes, but they have been God’s hands in our world.
In some Hispanic countries they use a greeting when introduced that says, “Larry Hendren para servirle.” It is translated, “Larry Hendren, to serve you.” Some who say that mean it, others not so much. Some really want to be of service…while others want to dominate and be served.
Jesus gives us the ultimate example of servanthood, leaving all the glory of heaven to wash the feet of disciples, to feed multitudes, or to walk out on the waves to rescue his disciples. When he was at some of his busiest moments Jesus still had time to talk to a Samaritan woman at a well, or another who touched him in the middle of a crowd, or to have little children sit on his lap. Jesus went to the down and out as well as to the up and out. No one was too lowly or too important for him to invest his time in them.
And servanthood has its reward. Of course there is a promise of eternal rewards, but aren’t there rewards in the here and now as well as in the hereafter? I think so. There is a feeling of accomplishment after helping someone, but that’s just the beginning. You never know if the person needing your help today could be reaching out to help you some tomorrow. In addition to that, studies link mental and physical health with servanthood. In studies analyzed by government sponsored institutions servanthood is called “volunteering.”
That report claims that benefits include a longer life, even to increasing the average longevity of the entire state, with effects that are measurable for as much as 10 to 20 years later. If you are still in doubt that servanthood is beneficial, just google servanthood, or volunteer, or servant leadership.
Jesus really knew what he was talking about when he said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them, yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)
I want to wear God’s hands like my Sunday School teacher did, like my parents did, and like Jesus did. I want that to be my legacy for my children and grandchildren. I want them equipped for a life of compassionate service.