A Servant’s Heart

There’s a little church, and I mean “little” in the sense of maybe 12 pews, that I frequently pass by on an old farm road. For most of the Covid pandemic, the sign out front read the same phrase: A SERVANT’S HEART.

I rarely saw even a single vehicle parked outside the church, even on a Sunday. As the pandemic, quarantine, and shutdowns continued, the grass slowly grew taller and taller in front of the church. But the sign stayed the same.

It stirred my thoughts every time I drove by. What does it mean to have a servant’s heart? I would ponder this as I passed the small community near Falls Lake, with it’s curious mix of old farmhouses and homesteads, trailers, horse farms, and brand new homes. The gentle curves of the road eventually gave way to sharp bends, some 45 degrees or greater, much like the rambling thought process that occurred as I drove along. By the time I reached the lake, I always had a new idea about it.

At the beginning of the pandemic, our animal sanctuary was in it’s infancy, just a year old. We were a very small group of believers, taking little stabs at big problems in our community. We’re now about to start our fourth year– still a small group, still taking those stabs. And it is no small success, given all we have endured over the last couple of years. It has taken real commitment and faith to carry on, and we are thankful for such a wonderful, supportive community.

Many blessings especially to the person responsible for leaving those simple words up on the little church sign for so long. Thank you for this reminder, and for allowing sufficient time for the message to really sink in. I write this for you.

I believe the center of a servant’s heart is composed of love, compassion, and hope. For all humans, animals, every living thing in the environment. It is a fellowship, because the servant knows that everything is connected, both physically and spiritually. We are meant to be stewards. We are meant to share. We have a great responsibility to make positive impacts in our world, to help others, especially those less fortunate or struggling to find the servant’s path for themselves.

But what does all this mean for animal welfare work? For our sanctuary?

This is how I think about it: little things matter. We may be a small rescue group with a small budget. We may not have the numbers of other organizations. But we shouldn’t be concerned. We should use whatever gifts we have to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (Pretty sure this is a biblical passage, but I couldn’t tell you which apostle wrote it– I confess I have been out of Sunday school for many years!). To say it another way, we should do what we can, now, with what we have.

I held several neonatal kittens in my hands this past year, our “year of the cat”. Each one is special, and so innocent it makes your heart hurt. They are so small we measure their weight in grams, not pounds. They are beautiful, delicate creatures. I treated each one like a brilliant gift to the world, and yes, my husband groaned at all the baby kitty talk.

Many weeks later these kittens were adopted. Every time I placed a kitten in their new home, I realized all over again what this work is. Yes, we are saving lives. But we are also entrusted with raising and caring for animals that will become faithful companions for people from all walks of life. From the 11-year-old’s shining smile to the veteran’s measured composure, the little cats were far, far more important than they may have seemed.

A little kindness can go a very long way indeed.

And I think this is the point. A servant’s heart is not measured by the volume of it’s service, but by the impact of its actions. It does not seek fame or fortune or recognition or status. It is just loving kindness. And for this reason, I hope we remain a small group of believers doing these small things. I hope we always have time to listen to the folks who reach out to us for help. May we always do this work with our whole hearts.

Merry Christmas and best wishes to you all in the New Year!

2 thoughts on “A Servant’s Heart

  1. Great article about a crucial subject: Servanthood. Serving one another, and our animal friends, with compassion and hope, will change the world for everyone. Thank you for all you are doing. Love you!

    Like

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