Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Plunging The Potty

So I’m a servant. Hmm…

Through the years we’ve given that word a nice looking cloak to disguise its original meaning of “slave.”

Hmm. I’m starting to get that.

I’m usually pretty comfortable with the idea of being a servant. I’ve waited on people a lot over the years and done plenty of things that I could easily categorize as servant-like. And I’ve regularly been aware of being Jesus’ servant, as well, consciously offering myself to Him for whatever He would like to do or say. I pretty much get the whole servant thing. “Whatever your idea is, Jesus, I’m here for you.”

But slave?

I’m learning that I don’t have that one down. A toilet in my dad's home stopped up, with most all of the lovely little offerings you can imagine jostling for position. (A bit too graphic, I suspect.) Somehow my dad failed to notice. However, I figured he was laying a trap for me, so I didn’t say anything immediately. Finally, when I could take it no longer, I said, “Dad, your toilet is stopped up.” “Oh. Well,” he replied, “I’ll get the plunger.” And I’m thinking good idea, dad. Returning from his hunt, he had a glad expression on his face, and, handing it proudly to me, said, “Here you go.”

And that is one of many small snapshots of life these days with my dad. From handing me a roll of toilet paper (don’t worry, I’m done with that topic now) and telling me to take it upstairs, to telling me to clear the table and do the dishes, having me chauffeur him around town, fetch dinner, or clean up a mess, I’ve found the pleasure of being a servant severely challenged.

It’s probably about time.

I think of being a servant as an activity I choose, not one forced upon me. And that’s where the word has lost its meaning and intent—I’m wrong. So, I’ve done a bit of inner processing today, and sort of re-calibrated my thinking of why I’m taking care of my dad after my mother’s passing. No matter what my dad thinks is the reason for my being with him and serving him (it’s the family thing to do, I owe it to him, etc.), I’m doing it unto the Lord. That doesn’t mean I just work like a, well, slave, and make no complaint, it means that I am regularly thinking about Him and sowing to the Spirit as I work. As I do, I reap the benefit of life in Christ—the power of the Spirit shows up in me (Gal 6:8).

It might be that I strangely enjoy being ordered around like the son-slave dad always wanted, or, feeling the indignity of working over someone else’s potty (oops, I was supposed to be done with that), the Spirit makes me aware that He is with me, feeling everything I feel. And that makes plunging the potty worth it.

But you can forget about inviting me over to do it for you in your house. This slave has drawn the line…for now.

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