[Note: Written sometime in 2012. Just now finished and posted.]
This past work week was unique for me. I typically spend my eight hours Monday through Friday behind a desk and talking to people. It’s where I thrive – I get to talk and laugh with people in the office and members of my gym. It’s a great, fun job that I genuinely enjoy.
I also help out in other departments of the gym. This week I gave one of the hardworking employees in housekeeping a week off and spent my 40 hours folding towels and maintaining a clean locker room and restrooms throughout the club. It’s not glamorous work, and it doesn’t involve interacting with members, but I am able to stay productive and busy, and I was able to help out a dear coworker of mine.
The first few days of the week, I set out to do the tasks required of me and completed everything out of a sense of routine, but after doing the job for two consecutive days, I began to realize that people are slobs! As I made rounds through the locker room, picking up towels strewn all over the floor (while there are bins clearly provided), cleaning up messes people should have cleaned up themselves, and never hearing the words “thank you”, I became bitter. I began to grumble in my heart as I cleaned. Couldn’t bother to pick up your towel and bring it all the way over to the bin on your way out? You’re too good for that, huh? Since when is it my job to pick up the piles of hair you left on the shower floor or wipe down the floor after you leave because you made an inconsiderate mess?
The bitterness I began to feel undoubtedly flowed to my coworker who manned the men’s locker room and chatted with me while we folded towels. I allowed myself to dwell on how much I didn’t want to pick up after these people, and I was not finding joy in the task. I was not the bubbly, happy self I was in the office.The overall mood in the laundry room slowly deflated, and it was my fault.
But starting around Wednesday, the Lord constantly brought Philippians 2 to my heart, and asked me how Jesus would act if he had this job. If he was making rounds, would he fake a smile as he wiped up who-knows-what for the zillionth time?
This is the servant nature of my King:
Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! -Philippians 2:6-8
That is the servant-like attitude of my Jesus, and I am called to reflect it. If He has served me by taking on an inconvenience of such vast proportions, I must follow His example by allowing myself to be inconvenienced, unappreciated, even disregarded while serving others out of a position of love, grace, and a servant’s heart. When a woman throws five towels on the floor and leaves them there for me to pick up, it ought to be my pleasure to retrieve them – serving as I have been served; loving as I have been loved.
So when the job requirements get uncomfortable, dirty, and just no fun, remember that you are the spittin’ image of Christ Jesus and you are called to reflect what He would do – because he’s done it for you first.