Morning Thought: I was in Chicago, jet-lagged after a long flight from Australia with our toddler. I was late for a meeting with the Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. In a fog, I staggered onto the hotel elevator. I kept my head down and heard a deep voice, “Where do you serve?”
As I looked up, I was shocked to see it was the well-renowned pastor, Jack Hayford. For those who may not know, it’s like encountering Steve Jobs—except Jack is a profound Biblical teacher, author and worldwide Christian leader.
I stumbled over my words and finally said, “Australia.” All these years, I’ve been impacted by his choice of words. Not, “What do you do?” Nor, “How big is your church?” But instead, “Where do you SERVE?”
Ayin ע is the sixteenth letter of the Hebrew Alphabet. It has the numerical value of seventy and means eye. It also begins one of Hebrew’s most significant words: servant (עבד eved).
What is a servant? It’s someone who keeps their eyes on the Master. It’s not about what they want, but what the Master wants. It’s humbling. And it sometimes means being mistreated and undervalued by others.
Authentic serving in the Kingdom will mean dying to your self-nature, a nature that craves recognition, attention and appreciation. While servanthood is generally not esteemed by the world, it is one of the great values of Scripture. The Son was not ashamed to be called a servant (cf. Isaiah 42:1).
It has now been many years since my encounter with Pastor Jack Hayford. Our toddler is almost twenty-one. And this week marks twenty-two years of serving God in Australia and eight years of being an Australian citizen. I marvel at how the Lord has kept Anna and me, especially when seeming to face the impossible week after week. What have we learned? To continually keep our eyes on the Master.
In the Ayin ע portion of Psalm 119, the Psalmist is not ashamed to say, “Your servant I am (avdekha ani עבדך אני); Give me understanding, and I will deeply know your testimonies” (Psalm 119:125, my translation).