May 13, 2015
Did you ever have to apologize to someone you had never met before?
It happened to me awhile back.
Someone had asked me to meet him to take care of some preparations for a presentation. This was avoidable. It would not have been last minute if only he’d turned in these things a few days before. as we had requested of him. More than once.
The day (my day off) started with me in a cheerful mood, but after getting the request, I allowed a morose feeling to creep around the edges of my heart. By the time I arrived at my office, my mood was discernibly (but internally only, I thought) different. I met this man, and proceeded to take care of what needed attention while he and I talked. It seemed like a fairly cheerful conversation. Inside, however, I wanted to get down to business, get the task done, and head out the door.
After my newfound friend left, another friend of mine walked by and asked what was wrong. She thought I looked unhappy about something. I replied that I was feeling a bit fuzzy minded that day. (True. Dark winter mornings usually make me fuzzy minded. And this encounter had added to the fuzz.)
I finished up and left. On the way to Lowes, reflecting on the recent conversations, I realized my newly met friend may not have had a very good impression of me. Worse, he may have been offended or at least put off.
Walking into the store, I pulled out my phone, and gave him a call. Was he was offended in any way by our encounter? He responded, “Well, I thought you might be having kind of a bad day.”
So my face did communicate something that I wanted to keep hidden. I apologized to him and asked his forgiveness. He graciously gave it.
I related that I did not realize how much showed on my face. I did not realize that I sometimes communicate things unintentionally. The fact that body language is significant was reinforced to me that day.
A quote I’ve read a few times spoke itself into my mind:
“You will find out how much of a servant you really are when you’re treated like one”.
In Christian circles we talk glibly about having a servant heart. We talk about how Jesus was the ultimate servant. We say we want to be like Him. We say, “I am here to serve.” I wonder how often we have a pre-drawn picture in mind of how that looks.”I am here to serve, and here is my six-point plan on how I plan to do that. And remember I need breaks. And I need to be home for dinner.”
Servants don’t get to set their schedule.
They don’t get to pick and choose how they serve.
In my history I have been a bit of a pushover. Maturity has helped me be less so, and helped to me to be more plainspoken. Looking back, I see many times I quietly simmered, stuffing things in order to be “nice”.
That isn’t healthy either. There is a middle ground between being being run over, and being belligerently adamant about not doing what “it’s not my job” to do.
Servanthood means availability.
Yes, other people should be responsible and not take advantage. People should not make assumptions that others will just drop whatever they’re doing and take care of their priority. Other’s failure to plan should not become my emergency. Yet, when I am treated like a servant, what is revealed in my heart?
The forgiveness my new friend so readily offered that day was a gift. He understood. I am grateful for the reminder to me about what goes on in my interior.
May I be quick to listen, slow to speak, and quickly release anything that offends me.