The father yells, "Good job honey."

I’m watching a father teach his daughter the basics of tennis from the balcony of a condo in Lake Tahoe. (I’m crashing my sister’s vacation) She’s just learning the game and clearly the father is a seasoned player.  He shows her how to correctly grip the racket, then walks around the net, and gently serves the ball right where she is standing. She smiles the first time she is able to return the serve and he lifts his racket in acknowledgement yelling, “Good job honey.” I start thinking about service, which leads me to those bigger questions in life, like why am I here, and who am I meant to be in this world.  I know it’s a leap but work with me.  Immediately my mind goes to the scripture of the last supper, where Jesus knelt down, and washed the feet of his disciples, saying, “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your 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 13:12-17)  So we are called to serve one another. That is abundantly clear.  But I think sometimes I get caught up in the idea of service. I seem to think it has to be difficult or important work like joining the Peace Corps or the Red Cross. I forget that simple gestures are just as important and sometimes leave an indelible mark on the recipient. For example, my co-worker Ellen, who graciously changed our meeting three times to accommodate my schedule, without an ounce of guilt thrown my way.  My sister, who protects my time to write by taking the entire family on an outing, or my mom who jumps up at 3 a.m. because she thinks I need some Vicks (her solution to everything), and my brother-in-law who makes breakfast for everyone without being asked. There are a million simple ways we can serve each other and it doesn’t have to be life shattering. I watch the young girl get her first serve over the net and her dad returns the ball right where she is standing.  I love that.  He wants her to succeed. The deeper meaning of service must involve helping others without expecting anything in return. I notice the girl rarely returns the ball to the father but that does not deter him in the least. So I think I’ll clean the kitchen while everyone is out. I can hear the father yelling through the open window, “Good job honey,” and of course I attribute that to God thanking me for cleaning the kitchen.

You might also enjoy:Let’s Clean this Up or Her Name is Audrey

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