Lord of the pots and pans and things,
since I've no time to be
a saint by doing lovely things,
or watching late with thee,
or dreaming in the dawnlight,
or storming heaven's gates...
make me a saint by getting meals
and washing up the plates.
Thou who didst love to give men food
in room or by the sea,
accept this service that I do—
I do it unto thee.
— Brother Lawrence, Practicing the Presence of God
Several times while teaching for Asian Access, I am reminded of this quote by Brother Lawrence who reminds us of how we can always be in God’s presence, even in the most mundane tasks. As I head to India tomorrow, this rings true once again as the community there washes the dishes together after every meal. It’s their corporate way of reminding themselves that they are servant leaders as pastors, husbands, and fathers. This same practice happens across many of our countries.
I’ll never forget listening to my colleague from Cambodia tell me that all the wives came up to him in tears thanking him for Asian Access. They said, “We hate it when our husbands go to pastors conferences. They leave us home alone to manage the house and all the problems of the church come to us. But, things are different when they go to Asian Access. When they come home, they are washing the dishes, changing the diapers, and doing the laundry. Beyond this, they learn to raise up other leaders so all the church problems no longer come only to us.”
I noticed this picture on Facebook recently when one of our Sri Lankan students commented about one of our faculty members. It brought me back to washing dishes in India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Bangladesh. What a powerful reminder of the importance of serving first! And, as Brother Lawrence reminds us, these very acts are opportunities for us to grow even closer to Christ.
Jesus himself modeled this type of leadership for us. See his words below to his disciples.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, 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. - John 13:14-17
Now, if I could only consistently live up to these values in my own home! I do well from time to time but too often I fall far short… May I practice your presence Jesus by modeling your leadership in my home and my life more often!
How about you? Do you practice what Jesus preached? Do you practice being in his presence as you serve no matter the task at hand? I’d love to hear your wisdom in this area of life… Do share!