Tag Archives: Servanthood

Muffler Burns and Servant Leadership

22 Oct

Usually people are rewarded for their good deeds. It’s why they do them every once in awhile. It’s that extra pat on the back and the satisfied feeling of being noticed. Only she didn’t get a pat on the back. More like a burn on the leg, judging by the golfball-sized patch of raw just above her ankle. And that golfball might as well have had my name written across it since it was my endless cough that prompted her secret little goodwill mission to the pharmacy on the other side of the city, one of the few she knew of that actually sold cough drops. The mission required a moto, which requires extra caution on the part of a woman when riding in a skirt, which caused her to choose haste over safety upon disembarking, which brought her right leg into contact with a hot muffler. Hence the golfball. Hence my autograph on her Cambodian souvenir. She didn’t tell me the story until a day later and even then I had to drag it out of her.

Why she does these things, I don’t know, thinking of everyone else before herself and serving her heart out. Actually, let me rephrase that. I know why. I’m just not always sure how. Once upon a time, during the course of our Cambodian summer, I entered some kind of secret competition. My acts of service against hers. For awhile I was even going for the one-step-ahead thing, but that didn’t last very long. Besides, I don’t think she ever keeps track. That’s one of the reasons I love her so much.

There’s this Jesus principle I see in little sister. It’s in Matthew 23 and might as well have her name in the margin next to the red lettered verse. This principle comes alive in her every day life, whether it’s in a slum in Southeast Asia or a trailer park in Honey Brook or our home in Bird in Hand, and it’s the balance of the servant-leader: one who becomes great in the Kingdom because they’ve learned to be a servant in this one. She leads strongly because she serves well and she stoops low to push others higher and she smiles wide in the invisible work. It’s a principle I want learned deep and stretched full in my own life and I’m grateful for a younger sister who lets me follow her as she follows Christ.


My Friends. My Heroes.

20 Jul

Her name is Annie. She’s my Friend.
Yesterday she gave her shoes away. And I stood by and watched.
She hands her shoes to a shoeless child. A perfect fit. Crazy. “I feel so bad,” Annie whispers to me, “these shoes are falling apart.” YOU feel so bad? I’m the one with the gun of conviction on the back of my neck.
Annie left the slums, shoeless. But Annie left the slums a Better Place. For the life of a child was changed.
The heart of pure servanthood in action. She’s my friend, but watching her life has made her My Hero.

Her name is Martha. She’s my Mother.
She fills my Love Tank. Silly wording, I know. But it’s True, True, True.
A late night after Youth Center, I come home. Nicely folded clothes sitting on top of nicely fixed bed. I did neither, Mother did both.
An early morning HBYC meeting, I’m tiptoeing past her bedroom door, I see a faint light and hear her early morning prayers. For her children. For me. Oh Mother.
A handwritten note on my coffee table after a rough day. A phone call a few minutes after leaving home, “I just wanted to say I’m sorry…Will you be alright?” A biography sitting on my desk with a note on top. Oh Mother.
The heart of pure servanthood in action. She’s my mother, but watching her life has made her My Hero. 

Her name is Ervina. She’s my sister. 
And today she bought Ramon noodles.
Because she knew that somewhere along the lines of her Quality Time vs. my Acts of Service, it mattered. Strange, but I cannot even begin to describe how her simple act of buying-ramon-noodles is really a Massive Act of Love.
“I’m sorry they aren’t really good honey,” She says as we eat our ramon-noodle supper on our floor mattresses.
Not really good? Like I care! Oh Erv, don’t you realize it’s not about the food, go get fried worms for me and i’ll be happy for a whole week. 🙂 You donnneee filled my little Acts of Service cup. :]
But, Because I know that she would much rather sit down beside me and talk then go buy us supper, it matters. Oh, it matters.
Boy, i’m having a real hard time articulating this. But basically, she does what she doesn’t always feel like doing in order to bless others. Boy, that still doesn’t put it quite right. But basically, She sees the good in people. She loves me through my faults. She challenges my weaknesses. She reminds me that the world still has good in it, when I’m fed up with it all (which is perhaps quite often). She teaches me to pray. She teaches me tenderness of soul. She displays heroic unselfishness.
The heart of pure servanthood in action. She’s my sister, but watching her life has made her My Hero.

Time would fail me to tell of them all. Of the friend-turned-heroes; Danielle Beiler and my Thailand Missionary heroes, Cathie Gingerich, Abigail Weaver and Hudson Taylor (Ok. Ok. We would have been friends had we been born in the same era) and Ivan & Anna, Joy Smoker, Beth Mast and My Father and Cherie Barkman and so many other heroic lives that inspire my own…

Oh Lord. To be like You! Yup, It’s a pretty exciting life!…
And that is about it for now…

You just so happen to be My Hero too.