Anyone in business understands how important customer service is to the bottom line. Quality service goes a long way in both getting and keeping customers. Profit motive alone is sufficient reason to provide good service.
Problems arise, however, when we apply profit motive as the primary motivation for service in our interpersonal relationships. If we want to guarantee a friend, family member, or co-worker feeling used, let them sense that our motive for serving them is our personal bottom line. For example, husbands and/or wives can operate on a “payment for services rendered” basis, whereby they serve their spouses not out of love and kindness, but in anticipation of payment of some obligation which they feel their service has rendered.
How much more fulfilling life would be for us if our motive for relational services rendered were to come not from a self-profit motive, but from an others-profit motive where love for, and kindness toward others were the motive for our service, and their benefit were the desired outcome. To possess such a servant spirit, three changes must have occurred in our lives:
1. We must experience a change of mind, whereby we exchange any spirit of pride for a spirit of humility. First, we must adopt a spirit of humility regarding others whereby we choose not to think more highly of ourselves than we do them. This doesn’t mean we can’t have a good opinion of ourselves. It means that if our opinion of ourselves is the size of a hot air balloon, then our opinion of others should be the size of the Goodyear blimp. Second, we must adopt a spirit of humility regarding tasks. “Do you do windows?” is not an idle question if it helps identify tasks which we feel are beneath us.
2. We must experience a change of heart, wherein our hearts are turned from a selfish love of self which comes so naturally to a sacrificial love of others which comes so unnaturally. We must die to self by sacrificing our time, talents, treasure, and personal preferences so that others can thrive. This does not mean we ignore our needs, but it means we look out for others while taking care of our own needs.
3. We must experience a change of location, whereby we are willing to move from our comfort zones to discomfort zones if necessary. The challenge most people have when it comes to having a servant’s heart is that they prefer their comfort over someone else’s need.
If you’re looking for an excellent role model for a servant’s heart, read Philippians 2:1-8 in the Bible. The ultimate servant’s heart is found in the life of Jesus Christ. And if you’re wondering whether or not you truly have a servant’s heart, Elisabeth Elliot provided us a great diagnostic tool when she said, “The best way to find out if you really have a servant’s heart is to see your reaction when someone treats you like one.”
About the Author
Jerry Long is a retired minister [38 years] living in metro Greenville, SC. He and his wife Lynne have two daughters and three grandchildren. He holds degrees from Clemson University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.