Serving the servant

No-bake cookies are ready for Mrs. Tonya and the kiddies!

A few Bible study girlies with their prized lasagna for Mrs. Tonya.

 At this very moment, someone special is doing a hard thing. And she’s not complaining about it. In fact, she’s happy to roll up her sleeves and get the job done. ‘Cause that’s what Jesus did. ‘Cause she really wants to help. And ‘cause no one else wants to.

She’s a servant, for real. Have you seen her too? She’s sometimes tough to spot—gotta look in the corners, peek into the background. Here’s what gives her away: Busy hands, loving heart. Kind eyes, sometimes weary. Mostly, though, is the undeniable Jesus glow. Sound like a woman you recognize?

There’s one in my town. Some college girls and I met Mrs. Tonya last month. She’s the house mom for a foster home, and get this: Not only does Mrs. Tonya love lots of kids around the clock, but she also does laundry, helps with homework, and cooks every meal. Every meal! What a servant’s heart! How in the world does she serve with a smile? (A genuine smile at that?)

I think it was a HUGE macaroni pot that got the girls thinking. We were at the foster home to entertain some kiddies, but soon we found ourselves preparing lunch. That black pot of boiling noodles, I’m telling you, was enormous. Then dozens of hot dogs went on the grill, and paper cups of Kool-Aid lined the counter. By the end of the meal, we were ready for a nap. But there was no time: That huge macaroni pot still needed washing.

One of the college ladies said it first: “Once we leave here and go back to our lives, we’ll feel good about volunteering. But Mrs. Tonya will still be here. So will the kids. And dinner is in five hours.”

They were right. And as it all sank in, we waved good-bye to an amazing woman and formed a plan. What if we served the servant? What if we gave her a break with a homemade pan of lasagna or two? We could whip it up, then freeze and deliver. A small gesture, for sure, but one that’d be helpful, practical. It’d be a meal of thanks for a woman in the trenches.

It wasn’t much sacrifice on our parts, honestly: The “Cook Some Lasagna” project was a lot of fun! We laughed over meat sauce and ricotta cheese. We took pictures and (maybe) sampled a dessert or two. And we thought about Mrs. Tonya and the meal she was making for foster kids that very moment.

On Wednesday we delivered two pans of lasagna and a tray of no-bake cookies. That’s two meals at most for Mrs. Tonya, a drop in the bucket compared to her hours in the kitchen. But it’s a start. And it’s a small way to serve the servant. To say thanks. And to show a bit of God’s love to someone who oozes it daily.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Mrs. Tonya. And to the millions of servants just like you. May we not only admire what you do but also lend a hand sometimes. You, of all people, deserve it.

*********************************************

  • “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
  • “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
  • “[Jesus said] If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward” (Matthew 10:42).
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