Matthew 23.11-12: The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. [NRSV]
“Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty. [The Message]
In our time, the best example we might have of Jesus’ model of servanthood is a waitress or waiter in a restaurant. They’re now even commonly called ‘servers’.
The best ones, you never see.
Water appears as if by magic when you need it. Food appears before you just before you were ready for the bite. The financial exchange occurs without a word spoken.
An excellent waiter or waitress understands that their purpose is to ensure your dining experience, which includes the recognition that you did not come to meet them, you came to dine.
Our best attempts at serving others do not draw attention to ourselves or our efforts. The help is either given or it is not. The importance of the one who provided the help is in the help.
You may never even know the name of your surgical team, but each and every one of them mattered to your survival. You neither needed nor required a dance troupe shouting out all they would do for you. All you needed was their skill and care.
Allowing ourselves to disappear into the woodwork in order to be of service is a skill and it takes practice.
It also take humility – the humility to understand that when it comes to helping people, it’s about them, not you – and to be okay with that.