What am I — the household servant?


I thought I’d outgrown that kind of pettiness.

But there I was on weary feet, in a sticky kitchen, mind swirling through the two hundred tasks I’d checked off my list and the dozens of to-do’s yet undone.

And self-pity whispered innocent little questions like, “What am I — the household servant?” and “Why are people not falling all over themselves in gratitude around here?”

Earlier in the day, my motivation had been good…

  • I expended extra energy to bless a friend.
  • I provide wholesome entertainment for the kids by dismantling our leaky pool and assembling a new one.
  • I took my special needs son on a long-anticipated excursion, weathering his seizure and nasty fall along the way.
  • I cooked dinner, gave a haircut, ironed church clothes, and…, and…, and…

But somewhere in the middle of great intentions, I allowed pettiness and immaturity to sneak into my heart.

Ummm, applause, anyone? A pat on the back?

Do any of you realize I’ve set my own important projects aside to serve you all?

God greeted me and my endearing attitude the next morning with John 13:3-5:

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Wait. What?

Jesus knew who he was and the importance of his calling SO he took the towel and basin and washed the disciples’ feet?

Shouldn’t it read “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power… so he asked one of the disciples to be the servant and wash everyone’s feet?”

If anyone had “more important” things to do, it was Jesus. His calling, who he was, everything about him should have disqualified him from the role of servant.

But no, he “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45).

Me? I’m just like the disciples, hoping to pawn the dirty jobs off on someone a little further down the ladder. And if I’m forced to do it because no one else will, you’d better believe I want a little recognition.

But Jesus is so breathtakingly different. Everything about him is astounding.

He is the Creator, the King of Kings, and yet he stooped to wash filthy, smelly feet.

He stooped under the whip… under the weight of the cross… under the burden of my sin.

He humbled himself.

He knew his identity in his Father, and knew that serving didn’t change his standing… serving pleased his Father.

Oh, what a challenge to my warped perspective.

Serving isn’t about doing something “important.” It’s not about glamor, recognition, novelty, or gratitude. It’s just following the example of the One who served me. It’s an opportunity to offer myself as a living sacrifice.

Serving isn’t beneath me; it’s a privilege.

And even though I’m the one who belongs in the role of foot-washer… who merits nothing… my dazzling Savior sees my service and promises to reward it. Every unrecognized act of love, every sacrifice, every gesture of humility is applauded by him.

Unbelieveable. And so empowering.

Thank you, Jesus, that you came to serve and redeem my sinful heart. Please enable me to serve my family, friends, and even the unlovely through your grace. Thank you for the privilege of being one of your household servants.

*Can you relate, friend? How do you fight the temptation to grumble as you serve your husband and family? Maybe you have a go-to verse? Let’s help each other out — share!! :-)

Blessings and grace to you as you continue serving,


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  1. says

    Thank you SO much for these words ~ I needed them in a way I can’t even express. Let’s just say that the title of the post caught my eye with an “AMEN!”. ;) Serving like Jesus. If I can wrap my heart around that one, then I think it will bring A LOT more peace to our home!

  2. Treva Buchanan says

    Thank you so much for the wonderful reminder. Having 2 kids (ages 13 & 8) & one on the way has me constantly reminding myself to keep my prego hormones under control and constantly asking God to help me. When I daily spend time w/God I feel so much better emotionally, physically & mentally. Knowing that I’m serving God and doing everything to the Glory of God helps me get through the hussle of the day. Thanks again for the humble reminder. ☺️

    • says

      You’re so welcome, Treva! I just read the verse yesterday about doing our work with enthusiasm for the Lord rather than for people (Eph. 6:7)… exactly what you’re talking about. And yes, we are so dependent on Him to help us — you and me both!

  3. Cindy says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this encouragement! This is a CONSTANT struggle for me. Every morning I pray that amidst the busyness of my schedule and the clutter of my possessions, I will cherish and nurture my relationships today. I’d be embarrassed to admit how often I fail. This is a beautiful reminder of who I belong to and that I am to serve others through Him, which pleases Him. When I do so, I have no doubt I will feel His peace and His presence!

  4. Stacy says

    Recently when my mind starts to descend I begin to stand in thanksgiving for these beautiful people before me that God has asked me to serve; this begins to lift my spirit and verses will come to mind to claim or pray for my family.

  5. says

    You had me hooked in the title Jennifer…
    Can so relate and it’s crazy how quickly my motives and heart can move from self-less to self-focused…thank you for this encouragement! Love, K

  6. says

    I have had the same revelation recently! So cool. Jesus called us to serve, and it can be pretty thankless around the home at times. Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. says

    Beautiful Jennifer. I saw myself in very word. God as call me to serve, to serve my husband and my children in the same way He send His only son to serve me. May God teach me daily to be humble and stay at His feet.

    Peace to you.

  8. Amanda says

    Every time I am feeling the way you describe I try to remember “Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS and again I say rejoice” from the Bible (can’t remember where in the Bible, but it’s there). Anyway it says always, with the dirty diapers and also the crying child who has been fighting with her brother and so on. I try to remember to do this, but it is so hard to rejoice daily no matter what. But it is worth it to try.

    • says

      Yes, I so know that challenge, Amanda! The strength to do so comes totally from Him! Praying you’ll be able to rely on His strength to rejoice in the middle of your craziness.

  9. Katie Mitchell says

    I really needed to hear this post. I especially needed to hear that serving doesn’t have to be glamorous or applause worthy. I tend to think I’m not doing anything worthwhile unless what I’ve done is worthy of making headlines. So often I look to the world as my example for service rather than Jesus himself. Good to know I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

    • says

      Oh, I know, Katie. It is so encouraging to realize how un-glamorous Christ’s work was, and how infinitely life-giving it was. I pray that we as moms will be faithful in the mundane, trusting that it makes an eternal difference!

  10. Shannon says

    Oh Jennifer, I needed this so much today. In fact, I probably should have read it at the beginning of the day BEFORE I decided that “my important things” were a better way to spend my day than serving my family. I’m sure you can imagine how that went over. Attitude adjustment in progress!

  11. Chrystal McEwan says

    Thank you so much for posting this!! Sometimes I feel like I am the household servant, but then I remember it is a blessing to be able to serve others. Jesus Christ is our perfect example!

  12. Lisa says

    Hmm. Needed a reminder today. Thank you. I feel like I do so much to serve my family and not enough to take care of myself. I guess I just need to step back and remind myself that I am blessed to have a wonderful husband (who does not complain about the housework ) and two children (age 13, and age 8). My verse? Philippians 2:14. Do everything without complaining or arguing.

    I think I need to take some time to take care of myself and then I will be in a better mood to serve others. Home pedicure? An hour reading? A walk around the block to see God’s creation? Worship? Time spent in prayer? How can I give so much when my cup is not filled?

    Again, thank you.

  13. Tiffany D says

    THANK YOU for this. With four boys ages four and under, there are lots of opportunities to serve at my house! And I’m afraid I grumble way too much. However, when I’m thinking correctly, my go-to verse is Matthew 25:40, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

  14. Annette Dalton says

    I think that, as Moms, we serve our families in ways that do not even feel like “service” to us. It’s just the natural outpouring of love, commitment, and understanding. When our serving becomes a burden on our heart it should be a sign to us that it’s time for some self care, rest, quiet time with God, or perhaps a quick talk with a good friend. There is a reason that our hearts are weary. We tend to overdo, over commit, and take on too much. When I am feeling unappreciated, I find that I am not appreciating myself or giving myself the break that my heart, mind, and body needs. Thank you for your post. It’s a great reminder of how blessed we are!

    • says

      Thanks, Annette! Yes, I think of David in the Bible who “refreshed himself in the Lord.” Also, the verse in Psalms reminding us to “be still” or “cease striving” and know that HE is God. We have limits and need to be still sometimes!!

  15. Cally says

    Thank you! Just happened to stumble upon this post today (God-lead-stumble-whole-way!) and I have to say thank you for sharing your sincere and loving heart that you have for being a Godly woman! Such encouragement for me today as I’ve been sitting on the topic of self pity for awhile now and this is another area The Lord has been molding and transforming in my own life! When I start thinking and feeling it creep up during the day w/ my family, I say OUT LOUD the opposite of what I’m thinking. Ex: “thank you Jesus that I am able and chosen to stand here right now to wash these dishes so we can enjoy a meal together again!” Words are so powerful! Thank you again and I pray blessings for you, your family and your servants heart today!

    • says

      Cally, you are so right — there is such power in our words, whether spoken to ourselves in our minds or out loud! You’ve encouraged me to think and speak well today too! :-) May the words of our mouths and meditations of our hearts be acceptable to Him… (Ps. 19:14) Thanks so much for your comment, Cally, and may the Lord renew your mind and fill you with gratitude and joy today!


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