Why We Should All Want to be Indentured Servants

http://wp.me/p2UZoK-ja“What would you like me to do next, Mum,” Laura asked as she curtsied and then put the broom away.

I looked at her and stifled a giggle. She wore her blue prairie dress and pink apron that I’d made her earlier that year so that she could dress up like a character in one of her favorite book series, and a sunbonnet hung down her back. “You may dust the house,” I said, handing her our wool duster.

“It should have feathers,” she answered, and then caught herself. “Yes, Mum, right away mum,” she said with a grin (and I’m sure her eight-year-old imagination immediately solved the problem of working with a modern duster) and another curtsey. I liked this new, helpful ‘indentured servant’ who immediately and cheerfully set out to do her chores.

An hour earlier, when she’d first called me ‘Mum’ and explained that she wanted to be an indentured servant when she grew up, I had shrugged and wondered how long this phase would last. “Oh, wonderful!” I had said, “That means I’ll only have to buy you one set of clothes each year. Just think of the savings!”

“Yes, Mum,” she’d answered, “that’s written in the contract.”

I’d handed her the broom and asked her to sweep the house. Both of our girls liked to act out stories that they read (they went through a phase of wrapping themselves in blankets and hanging by their feet off the back of the couch when they read Stellaluna). I wondered how long this phase would last. Seriously, though, how long would someone want to act the part of an indentured servant? And what mother in her right mind would go along with the career choice?

Thirteen years later, I realize that every mother should want her child to grow up to be an indentured servant. No, not some kind of modern slave—my desire for both of our daughters is that they indenture themselves for life to their heavenly Father. That serving others comes as second nature.

I’ve been reading and pondering Luke 13—where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet and tries to help them understand that he came to serve and to save—not to perform miraculous signs and defeat the Roman empire.

The Lord and King and Creator knelt down on the hard floor in the position of servitude and scrubbed the nasty feet that had trudged through dust and muck and who knows what else in order to show his closest friends that he expected servant behavior out of them.

“I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things you will be blessed if you do them.” (Luke 13:15-17 NIV)

How often do we think a job is below us when we should be looking to our Father with a smile and a curtsey and saying, “Yes, Lord, whatever you ask, Lord.”

After all, he paid the ultimate price for us. He saves us from a life of slavery to sin and clothes us in his own righteousness. All he asks in return is that we serve him with joy because we love him. (tweet this)

That’s the kind of indentured servant I want to be. I encourage you to indenture yourself to him, too.

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • I love this! I remember that day clearly. I love the message you found in it!
    Laura Melchor recently posted…Thoughts on Steinbeck’s East of EdenMy Profile

    • Now, if only I could find a photo of you all dressed up! Do you still have the dress and apron and sunbonnet?

  • This so so fantastic! I love the opening story; it actually takes me back to childhood, dressing up as characters from the American girls and trying to mop the floor with a toy mop (can’t say I ever tried to be an indentured servant though…) What a wonderful story to lead into a powerful lesson. Thank you for sharing this!
    Courtney recently posted…The Lonely Path of ComparisonMy Profile

    • Ah, those American Girl days! We even went on an epic adventure (with the dolls, of course) to Chicago to visit the store and have tea in the tea room :). Thank you for stopping by!

  • Loved loved reading this. What a joyful reminder that being a servant of Christ involves saying YES. I loved loved american girl dolls when I was a child and it just brings back memories reading your post. I love your use of story and your writing. Thank you!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jenn :). American Girl dolls weren’t around when I was a kid, but I did dress up like Laura Ingalls Wilder and I may have tried making a cake like she did (beating the egg whites by hand despite my mother’s admonishment that it would take a lot of work). Thank you for your kind words.

  • Anita,
    Your story about your daughter and how we ought to serve God joyfully is a good reminder….especially as we contemplate all He sacrificed for us out of love…Thank you 🙂
    Dolly@Soulstops recently posted…What you must know about spring (& growth)My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Dolly :). A little attitude of servitude isn’t much to commit to for the size of the sacrifice, is it?

  • Whew! I think God’s using your words on me tonight, friend! Enjoyed your post and am going to have to think on that some more. Thanks!
    Holly Barrett recently posted…Anything but emptyMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Holly. I struggle with servanthood because I like to be in control–but placing myself in a position to serve IS a form of control, I think.

  • What a good way to think about this! Love it and the image of your daughter in the dress.

    • Thank you for stopping by, Kirsten :). I really need to find a photo of Laura all decked out as Kirsten from American Girl ;).

  • Thank you for sharing this at the Cheerleading linkup! 🙂 I think your insight into this is wonderful – we should be servant-hearted as Christ was! Currently unemployed by the world’s standards, but wanting to serve in other ways and write for His glory. No job (paid or unpaid) should be below us, but we do it all with joy to serve our Creator God! God bless Anita!

    • Amen! I hope that your work situation resolves itself. My husband spent several years unemployed ‘by the world’s standards’ after recovering from a nasty bout with cancer. It’s not easy–but having a heart of a servant sure helps!

  • Amen, Anita. And the story of the daughter made me smile. 🙂 I believe one of the greatest ways to witness is simply through our lives, by serving the Lord with joy and gratitude. Thank you for sharing this much needed reminder.
    Abby McDonald recently posted…Struggling for Approval That’s Already OursMy Profile

    • Kids say and do the most amazing things–they’re always reminding me of some truth I need reminded of. And I agree about the just serving part–we aren’t all called to preach with words!

  • Thank you for sharing this post today, Anita. It goes so well with what I wrote about too! You sound like a great mom. I can’t wait to read more of your work!

    Let us just serve , with authentic and pure hearts Lord!
    Kelly Balarie recently posted…5 Truths to Replace The Lies Servants BelieveMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by and leaving some encouragement, Kelly :).

  • What a great post! Has the indentured servant phase passed for your girlie? I want to serve Jesus, and His kids with a Jesus heart. Thanks for reminding me of that. Popped in from the #RaRaLinkup! I’m your neighbor there!
    Leah Adams recently posted…The Loft – A Tueday Link Up ~ Christmas TraditionsMy Profile

    • Yes, the indentured servant phase has passed, but I’m happy to report that both of our daughters have continued to develop a sweet, ‘how can I help’ attitude.