When You Grow Up
by Charles R. Swindoll
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
That’s a favorite question we enjoy asking children. And the answers we get usually are “a police officer” or “a nurse” or maybe “a fire fighter.” Some kids are visionary. They answer “a movie star” or “a singer” or “a doctor” or “a professional ball player.” One recently told me he wanted to be either a car mechanic or a garbage collector. When I asked why, he gave the classic answer for a nine-year-old: “So I can get dirty!” I smiled as I had a flashback to my own childhood. And I understood.
Let’s take that same question and ask it another way. Let’s imagine asking Jesus Christ what He wants us to be when we grow up. Suddenly, it’s a whole new question. I honestly believe He would give the same answer to every one of us: “I want you to be different . . . to be a servant.” In all my life, I cannot recall anybody ever saying that when he grew up he wanted to be a servant.
It sounds lowly . . . humiliating . . . lacking in dignity.
We find it encouraging to think of ourselves as God’s servants. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a servant of the King? But when it comes to serving other people, we begin to question the consequences. We feel noble when serving God; we feel humble when serving people. Serving God receives a favorable response; serving people (especially those who cannot repay) has no visible benefit or glory from anyone except from God!
Christ gave us the example: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). To be a servant of God, we must be a servant of people.
In business and work, the concept of serving people must undergird all that we do. When we serve, we think first of the one we are trying to serve. Employees who serve honestly in their work honor God and deepen their value to their employers. On the other hand, self-serving employees will seldom be valued in any company.
Excerpted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, pages 91–92. Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.