Last week I spent a night at the Cairo airport awaiting my early morning flight to London. Minutes before catching the shuttle bus to our plane, I made a quick visit to the women’s washroom.
I’ve traveled to many different countries, and I’ve visited many women’s washrooms along the way. In the poorest of countries, the condition of these washrooms defies description. They’re staffed by locals who sit there for hours every day. Their task is to clean the bathrooms and to collect money from patrons before or after usage. Sometimes these locals seem friendly towards me, the foreigner; other times not so much.
On many occasions I’ve seen the workers allow their own people to use the facilities for free, but they literally step into my path and demand payment from me. It’s a little unnerving at times. The situation in Cairo was different than any I’ve encountered.
The washroom smelled of Lysol. The granite floor glistened, still wet from a recent mopping. An Egyptian woman—obviously the caretaker—crossed the room towards me carrying a rag in her hand.
As I walked towards the first stall, she raised her hand and motioned for me to stop. “Wait,” she said. She entered the stall, bent over the toilet, and wiped the seat. “Okay now, “ she said. She then smiled, stepped aside, and motioned for me to enter the stall.
This Egyptian woman took pride in her work and pleasure in serving me. And she did so without asking me—someone easily deemed a wealthy westerner—for payment. Her actions humbled me and immediately brought Philippians 2 to mind.
“He [Christ] made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2: 7,8).
Christ modeled servanthood. He left His heavenly home, emptied Himself of every divine right, and poured out His life in exchange for nothing. He died for us not because He stood to gain something but purely because He loved us.
Christ’s example of humble service leaves His followers with a high standard to follow. So does the Egyptian woman’s role model. For example, when we serve others, do we put limits on what we’re willing to do for them? Do we secretly feel that certain tasks are beneath our dignity? Do we serve others expecting something in return? Or do we willingly pour out our lives regardless of the task and whether or not we receive anything? Just a few thoughts on which to ponder.
How has someone’s kindness toward you displayed true servanthood?
#bgbg2 #servanthood #devotional
I am amazed by this story, and it sure does teach us a few things. I am all too quick to not act in servant-hood even here in my family. I am inspired by that Egyptian woman (and by Grace’s excursions).
Hi Marge. This Egyptian woman blessed me big-time. What a lesson in humility! She displayed it, and I was humbled as a result. I hope I never forget the lesson learned that day.