Ka Tong Gaw, a Filipino who served on the staff of Circle Church for several years, shared a favorite story on learning to be a servant. While attending Bible School in the Philippines, he became disturbed over the conditions of the men’s rest rooms. They always seemed to be neglected in the cleaning routine.
When nothing was done to correct the filth, he took matters into his own hands and complained to the principal of the school. Imagine his amazement a little later when he saw this same man, mop and pail in hand, slipping from his office into the bathroom. “I thought he would call a janitor, but he cleaned the toilets himself. It was a major lesson to me on being a servant and, of course, raised the question as to why I hadn’t taken care of the problem myself.”
Often we aren’t servants to one another because we haven’t allowed the Spirit to sensitize ourselves to one another’s cries of need. People say, “I need help,” in many different ways. Sometimes these messages are barely audible, fragments of sentences, a look, a sigh. Hearing the meaning behind these whispers demands the highly developed antennae of spiritually mature people.
Unfortunately, most Christians are unable to deal with obvious needs. We have discussed many times our inability to respond to the statement, “I need help!” I have always maintained this is not callousness, but inexperience. It is not that we don’t want to help, but that we don’t know how.
Recently a small group of women in our church were committed to a task demanding extensive work over a year and a half, the joint-effort of which rendered them a close-knit group. One woman, toward the weary but fulfilling end of the project, felt as though she was edging against the reserve of her strength. In that time period she had borne a child, nursed an ailing parent, and ministered in the church. She voiced her need.
“You mean no one responded?” I asked when she shared this incident with me, a little amazed because we both respected the depth of the women in the group. She shook her head. “Well, are you sure you expressed your need clearly, so everyone could understand?” I pressed. She had told them she felt she was near a breakdown from exhaustion. The simple point of this is that even these articulate, loving, and sensitive women simply had not heard the cry of help in a way that demanded action.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen Mains serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.