A Servant’s Heart

I have no particular reason for sharing this poem today, other than that I was flipping through my old notebooks and liked it.

I’ve never been one a person who needs many accolades. In fact, words of encouragement is probably my lowest love language. Praise me if I actually did something to earn it. Otherwise I’m just going to stare awkwardly at you. (Okay… more like an “Oh thank you” and a subject change these days.)

That said, there are times when not getting applause has felt more awkward than getting it would have been. I remember one work incident in particular where I spent weeks stressing out over a fairly major project, only to basically have silence from the rest of the company at a time when we were being more intentional about applauding small victories. It was pretty demotivating, to be honest. I’m pretty sure that was the incident that led to today’s poem.

Am I better about words of encouragement now? To be honest, I’m still pretty bad at it. But if I appreciate something, I am getting better at telling the person about it.

A Servant’s Heart

Originally written August 22, 2013

If there’s one thing that I have learned,
It’s that we’re all attention-whores
We all care most about ourselves,
Our own comfort and happiness
That, deep down, we want to be known,
To be respected, recognized,
For our accomplishments, and loved
It’s even in the heart of God.
They teach the golden rule: “Be nice.
You would not like it if someone
Were to be rude or cruel to you.”
That is a part, that much is true—
But: “Do as you would have them do”
And: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love is proactive, love is kind.
If you want them to hear you, then
Listen to them, and listen well.
If you’d be served, then serve them well,
And sing their praise, and serve their needs,
And pray for them on bended knees,
And let your Self fall far away
Until you have a servant’s heart.

On that same night You were betrayed,
You knelt and washed your best friends’ feet,
Calloused and dusty from the road,
But your trail was to end quite soon,
And they had many miles to go.

And will you now, Lord, wash my feet,
And cleanse my tongue with burning coals
That I might speak encouragement
To those with whom I share the road—
That I might sing their accolades
And warm their hearts with lov’d applause,
that I might hear their troubled words,
And be a boon to wearied minds—
To want to serve more than be praised,
And let my Self just drift away?

Photo by Eddie Kopp on Unsplash

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