Today I stacked chairs and I was annoyed. But something else struck me at almost the same moment as I allowed myself to think these annoyed thoughts.
We got to college a little early this morning. The streets are quieter in school holidays so the drive from home to college doesn’t take as long as it normally does. I heard the Friday chapel band practicing in our largest lecture theatre already and realised there must have been no 8am first year class today. J told me there was none rostered this term.
It’s the first years’ job to set up the lecture theatre for chapel. We did it last year. But when I went upstairs ten minutes before chapel was supposed to start the room had only just started to transform. There were only about 6 people moving the tables and chairs, and it was definitely not enough people to get it done on time.
I started to slide tables over each other, to stack chairs, and get a bit annoyed at first year. It looked like there were only two first years helping out. Why hadn’t they organised for some of them to be there to help out? We organised this ourselves last year when we had no 8am lecture. This isn’t the job for other years to do. I shouldn’t have to be here, but there weren’t enough people as it was, so I had to help.
I told these annoyed thoughts off almost immediately. Why should I think that I’m done setting up for chapel just because I’m not in first year any more? I shouldn’t resent service of others. Doing this job is loving my fellow students and serving them. But I love rules and allocated tasks so it’s hard for met to let others ignore them. But in my annoyance I had traded the joy of serving others for anger at doing “someone else’s job”.
I shouldn’t think myself above this job. Christians are called to a life of service, and this was just one small way of serving others. So I kept going, now with a better attitude. Or at least without the anger.
Ten minutes after I started I looked around and I realised how many people had come into the room to help out. So many. Many more than we needed to get it done. And I realised it didn’t matter what year they were in. I was filled with love for my fellow students. People who are willing to help out even if it wasn’t their job. And now I’m ashamed of my grudging service doing a not-my-job.
Today was a reminder for me of my sinful selfishness. My shameful self–centred nature. And it was a reminder to serve, even when it means doing something that’s not my job. In a way that’s the greater service, isn’t it?
And how can I not serve when I have already been served by Jesus, who gave more than I could ever give to save my life? I worship a Servant Lord who calls me to serve also. I’m still learning to serve, but I trust that God is changing my heart in a way that I couldn’t. A servant heart after my Servant Lord Jesus.