Did you ever keep track of how much time you spend serving others as opposed to serving yourself? The concept of service is so important to the Christian life that Jesus instructs us, “…whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” (Mt 20:26-27) If it’s that critical, surely we must be aware of how much time we spend fulfilling Our Lord’s command…correct?
In reality, most of us don’t think about this concept very often. When we do think about it, however, we are often disappointed with what we discover. Unfortunately, a lot of our time is spent doing things that we want to do instead of serving others. As an example, when I come home from work, I’d like to lie down and fall asleep watching TV, leisurely read the newspaper or surf the Internet. Why…because I’m human and it feels good. However, while it may feel good to serve myself in this way, it’s not really fair to my wife and kids. They have needs too and my vocation as a husband and father should supersede my own personal needs. That’s not to say that we can’t take time for ourselves, but we should be aware of our responsibility to others. Being a servant is about making life easier for others and doesn’t always have to be difficult. It can involve listening to your children tell you about their day or letting your spouse have the “last word” even though “you know you’re right”. It might be a smile that you share with a difficult co-worker or allowing a fellow driver to merge in front of you on a busy street.
As a Lenten exercise, try to analyze your activities at the end of this day. How much time did you spend being the servant that Jesus recommends? Are there a few more things that you could have done to make life easier for those people who God has placed in your life? Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and see what happens. If you think of a few small things that you could improve upon, try them out tomorrow. By getting into the habit of analyzing your actions, you’ll find it easier to stay on the path which will lead you closer to The Lord!