Humble Service



So the last will be first and the first will be last.  Matthew 20:16

How long would it take you to come up with a list of chores you really don’t like to do? If you’re anything like me you often try to get somebody else to do those. Let’s face it, some tasks are just awful and nobody wants to do them. Today I’m going to suggest that those are exactly the jobs we should be doing before anybody else gets a chance. Now before you quit reading, thinking I’ve lost my marbles, let me explain what I mean.

I think sometimes we get things a little backwards and forget the importance of humility and the blessings that flow from simple humble service. I heard a story not long ago about a man who makes it a point to always pick up the paper towel from the floor any time he goes into a restroom. You might be surprised to learn that the man is a famous executive. His car needed a repair while he was traveling on business one day so he pulled into a small gas station for the repair. He waited patiently and as usual, after using the restroom he picked up all the stray paper towel that littered the floor. When he was paying his bill he offered his kind thanks, included a tip for the repairman and his check was met with a question from one of the station employees. The young man said he knew what the restroom looked like before and he knew this man was responsible for its transformation and he wanted to know why a man who was rich and powerful would feel it necessary to do a job even he didn’t want to do. The man smiled and told the young man it was a simple task to keep him aware of how important humble service was. As he was leaving the station he looked at the young man and said, “I don’t ever want to get too big for my britches or think I’m better than someone else. We all have to find ways to take care of each other.”

I think as a society we are insulted and offended too easily. It’s easy to think things “aren’t our job” or that some tasks belong to those with less seniority or authority. Sometimes following the example of the executive is more beneficial for us than it is for anybody else. This week a tornado ripped through a neighboring town leaving a path of destruction. Praise God nobody was seriously injured but what a disaster! Social media and network news has been full of great stories since the storm of the teamwork, compassion and selflessness being witnessed as Portland cleans up. People helping others, taking care of each other, doing great humble service for people they know and people they don’t know. It’s a beautiful thing to see unfold. I thought to myself yesterday, what if that’s what we did every day? What if that was the norm instead of the exception? What if we just did stuff for others because we were able to?

The most powerful thing about humble service is that it completely removes us from the picture. We don’t do those nasty little tasks like picking up restroom paper towel in order to advance in our career or get a raise in pay; we do it simply to serve others and it is in those simple acts of selflessness we may truly serve God. I can take out the trash even if it’s not my job; I can clean out the pig pen even though the pigs aren’t my 4-H project; I can pick up paper towel in a restroom even if I didn’t drop it; I can give someone the closer parking spot. It’s all humble service…now I just have to remember to do it!

A Seed To Plant:  Take a couple days to pray with this thought; then, like the executive, pick something you can do as an act of humble service.

Blessings on your day!

Copyright 2015, Sheri Wohlfert
Image “Move-it Shorty” by Alan Rainbow


About Author

Sheri is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker and teacher. She uses her great sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Her roots are in Kansas but her home is in Michigan. The mission of her ministry is to encourage others to take a good look at the simple ways we can all find God doing joyful, blessed, amazing things smack dab in the middle of the laundry, ball games, farm chores and the hundred other things we manage to cram into a day. Sheri also writes at


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