Yesterday late afternoon I heard something that is every Mother’s dream. Caleb walked up to me and said, “Mom, is there anything I can help you do in the house?” At first I was completely stunned having no idea where that came from. I had to pause and catch my breath before I could reply. Caleb is my twenty-five year old son who has Down Syndrome. His diagnosis does not prohibit him from helping around the house with chores. In fact, he initiates many of them and owns them as a sense of accomplishment. I just was not expecting him to ask me to go above and beyond what he typically does. Now before you have preconceived notions about what took place next, let me assure you that Caleb is no “angel” or “always sweet and loving”. Those are stereotypes that would be debunked if you spent a week with him. Trust me. He is a wonderful young man and has so much to offer, but he is a red-blooded human being that struggles like we all do.
I thought a minute what extra chore I could give him to do. Most everything was already completed, but one thing did pop into my mind. Perhaps not the most popular task I could come up with, but I answered him, “Caleb, you can go and clean your toilet.” He promptly replied with a smile, “Nah, that’s okay.” I had to laugh at the whole scenario, because if he would have gone ahead and cleaned the toilet, I might have fainted.
What that incident did though is prompt me to reflect on my own willingness to serve. It is a marvelous privilege to be able to serve others, whether it is household chores, spontaneous acts of kindness in the community, or in a formal ministry volunteering your time and talents. But sometimes we just don’t want to serve. What about those filthy jobs, those back breaking jobs, those thankless jobs, those hot and sweaty laborious jobs…the ones nobody really wants to do or at least does not volunteer eagerly for? If our whole hearts intend to serve, and we ask someone if they need help with anything, our reply cannot be, “Nah, that’s okay.”, because anything less than, “I would be happy to do that.” is not serving with our whole hearts. Half-hearted is not what we are called to be. I confess that more times than I can count, I may have been enthusiastic to help, but was not the one first in line to sign up for the endeavor. It was my passive way of saying, “Nah, that’s okay.” Basically I was eager to help on my own terms. Sounds more like serving myself. Colossians 3:23-24 ESV says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
Every time we do an act of service, God notices. He notices because we are acting like Jesus who modeled servanthood to us. He was the ultimate leader who served. He took on the absolute most difficult task of all-the cross. Jesus knew how horrible crucifixion was, and yet His act of service to mankind provided the way to eternal life. 1 Samuel 12:24 ESV says, “Only fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you.”
Next time the opportunity arises to be of service, noticed or unnoticed, fun or grueling, choose to be mindful of the One who served us in the most extravagant way, and serve Him with your whole heart. I am so thankful Jesus never said, “Nah, that’s okay.”