We had a great time that weekend but if I’d known there was an unexpected award ribbon at the end, I would have done things differently! 

The girls’ club that I belonged to as a teenager was lots of fun and our annual weekend in the mountains was especially great. The adults–our parents–treated us like princesses. Although we each had one time of KP, the adults primarily did everything in the kitchen: fixing food and cleaning up. What could be better than having fun with little work involved?

On Sunday during our final time around the fireplace, the excitement continued as thanks were expressed and awards given–all in fun. Bu then one of the awards had a serious nature. Our adult emcee announced, “Now we’re going to give a special award we’ve never thought of giving before. This is for the girl who has sacrificially helped out in the kitchen without being asked. The moms who worked there appreciate it and so they wanted to honor her….”

In an instant, I tried to remember how often I’d helped in the kitchen. My heart sank as I couldn’t think of any time other than my assigned time for KP. My attention flipped back to the woman’s voice as she said,

“…and that girl is Suzy.”

There was a spontaneous burst of applause. Suzy went forward with blushing cheeks and seemed to be deeply touched as she reached out to receive the homemade ribbon labeled “Best Servant.” 

As I applauded, my first thought was, “Well, if they had let me know there was going to be an award, I would have helped out too.” (Tweet that!)

OUCH! I immediately saw my motive for what it was: selfish. I was willing to sacrifice and serve–if it was noticed and awarded. That, of course, wasn’t being a servant at all! I clapped all the louder for Suzi, recognizing her selflessness and my lack of it.

I look back at that experience (and I could name other incidents that revealed my need to be noticed and acclaimed), and I don’t know why I was so needy. I craved being admired and in some ways that neediness still resides in me. 

Such a need now diminishes my selfless motives to see God glorified. Biblical selflessness is still somewhat an elusive concept for me and hard to define. 

I do know what selflessness is not. It’s not being a victim. It’s not being a martyr. It’s not false humility or having low self-esteem. It’s not having a slave mentality or being abused by a husband in the name of “submission.” 

God values you and me as His children. We are His daughters in His royal court with a wonderful spiritual inheritance. Just as we can’t imagine a princess being mistreated in the royal court, we can be sure that God doesn’t want us mistreated. 

One thing I do know is that God looks at our motives for our service and gratefully He doesn’t expect us to have perfectly pure motives. He knows we’re still needy even as His princesses. But wanting God glorified goes a long way toward our Biblical selflessness. Wanting His glory helps us to surrender to being a servant.  (Tweet that!) And seeking what that means for each of us draws us closer toward His heart because we’re seeking Him. For each of His princesses (and princes), that may look different because there are no formulas. But be assured, God wants to empower you to be selfless–as much as possible–in your serving. 

Just think of this. Since God will say to us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” maybe we’ll all get the “Best Servant” ribbon. Actually, though, it won’t reflect upon us at all. It’ll be to His glory because He was the source for it!