By: Jenni Walker
“Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, My brethren, you have done it unto Me.” (Matthew 25:40)
“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’” (Matthew 20:20-25)
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Two summers ago, a package arrived at our doorstep that my then two-year-old son had been eagerly awaiting for several days. It was a bright blue potty training seat. He had been showing signs of readiness for a few months, but I, on the other hand, was not quite as eager to begin this developmental adventure. Diapers are convenient, and what if he wasn’t actually ready yet? Maybe we could wait just a little bit longer…
I had begun preparing to embark on this journey by gathering Pull-Ups, sanitizing spray, extra paper towels, Sesame Street stickers, a stack of old towels, and his two favorite potty-related children’s books. I had read a few online articles, taken a “potty-training style” quiz to hone my plan, and when that cardboard box was finally delivered to our home with the new potty seat, our son was almost beside himself with excitement. I cut through the packing tape, and he nearly dove inside, pulling out what he had been waiting for so patiently the last few days. Off we ran to the bathroom.
All I can tell you is the next half hour is not what I anticipated. He became very quiet as he sat there with a growing smile on his face, and I realized quickly what a holy moment this was. Although we have celebrated with M&M’s, stickers, songs, and potty training books throughout this learning experience (for him and me!) since then, this time we just sat as I perched on the edge of the tub in silence and awe with him. He sat there for a half hour waiting, and I internally wondered if he would start getting frustrated that he wasn’t yet going potty. But as we sat there together, it became clear that it was not simply about “going” in the toilet; it was about this “growing up” milestone. He was so proud of himself and seemed to understand the significance of it. It truly was a holy moment in which God reassured my heart that He is always at work and was at work in the life of my son.
In the month prior to embarking on potty training, I had been reading a book my husband bought for me called Be Still My Soul by Elisabeth Elliot. The chapter that the Lord used most profoundly in my heart entitled “A Servant Heart” was also what helped prepare me for this “potty training season.” In this chapter, she describes the service-oriented life of a renowned missionary to India named Amy Carmichael, explaining that she at first had “a very effective ministry as an itinerant evangelist for the first seven or eight years she was in India…In the opinion of the Indians as well as Amy’s European supporters, this was ‘true spiritual work.’ Then came the day when a little girl appeared on her veranda as she was having her morning tea, having escaped (only God knows how) from the captivity of being a child prostitute in the Hindu temple…”
The chapter goes on to describe Amy’s response to this first encounter, this “holy moment,” in which she began to take many more children from similar conditions into her care. This also meant that she would no longer travel as an evangelist. Elisabeth Elliot writes, “Her gifts were ‘on the shelf’ and she found herself doing the last thing she would have imagined when she came to India, mixing formula and changing diapers and finding workers to help her. She once said, ‘I must have cut tens of thousands of tiny toenails and fingernails!’ And inasmuch as Amy did it to one of the least of those babies, she did it for Jesus Himself.”
The verse being referred to is Matthew 25:40, which says, “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, My brethren, you have done it unto Me.” The Holy Spirit completely shifted my paradigm of thinking about potty training with this verse. It was like the Lord spoke to my heart, “Jenni, thank you for showing Me love as you love Xander in this specific way.” God’s Word is literally living and active and judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12-13). He is so gracious in drawing us close to His heart.
Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, yes, but He was also servant of all (Matthew 20:26-28), which is the part of Himself that we are to pattern ourselves after above all else! Philippians 2:5-8 explains, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who….made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” This means He literally “emptied Himself of His privileges.” It is from this posture that “God has also given Him the name which is above every name” to God’s glory (verses 9-11)!
Dear sisters in Christ, what joy to let God pour the life of Christ into our hearts in this way. In it, we literally are loving our Lord, keeping in step with God’s Holy Spirit, pouring ourselves out for Him and for others, and in doing so, we become more like Jesus! We can so easily be swept up in our own pursuit of happiness on any given day, but that robs us of this gift of living as a servant of God and of others. Cutting tiny toenails, potty training a toddler, working with excellence yet humility in the workplace, listening with a humble heart during conversation with your husband, caring for an elderly friend or family member, doing housework…each moment can become a “holy moment” when we empty ourselves like Jesus with the heart of a servant. Yes, each one is a gift because it is what the Lord uses to draw us closer to Himself, to make us more like Christ, and to produce lasting kingdom fruit to God’s glory!
TIME TO REFLECT
1. Take some time to reflect honestly with the Lord about today’s devotion topic. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart?
2. Revisit today’s Scripture passages. What do these verses teach us? How do they change things? (i.e. The way that we live? What we live for? Our experience of God?)
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