I couldn't resist using that unfamiliar word. Butling. Right out of Downton Abbey. Except for my summers as a live-in sitter and a brief stint as a house cleaner in San Francisco, I have never butled nor been butled.
But according to an article from Business Week, butling is on the rise on all sides of the sea. The rich will be served, and academies that teach you how to serve professionally are thriving.
Although learning the tricks of the trade (dishwashing liquid for cuffs and collars!) is important, the website of The International Butler Academy, advises that success has a much to do with attitude and character as it does with skill: “You must be willing to put another person’s wishes before your own, and do so with a genuine wish to be of service.”
The academy lets you test that attitude and learn those skills in real-life scenarios experienced in a real castle.
Learning to be a servant. Hands on.
Sounds like the approach of another servant school I know. One to which I have gained entrance: the Lord’s Academy of Butling and Household Management.
I was, of course, familiar with the importance of being a servant. I knew how the Lord modeled it for us, how He came not to be served, but to serve. I thought I got it.(Although if you read my book, Call of a Coward, you’ll remember I served in lots of ways, but when the kids came asking for my precious chocolate, I did have to slug it out with the proverbial devil on one shoulder and angel on the other.)
It’s one thing to gush over the text book version and quite another to apply it to life, as my current hands-on opportunity to serve my elderly in-law is revealing. Although I do wish to be of service, the “putting another person’s wishes before my own,” isn’t flowing out of me as smoothly as I hoped.
I’d prefer to serve on my own time, in my own way.
My father-in-law’s needs are so few, thank God, but the ones he has are hitting where it hurts, and the Lord isn’t let me move on up from footman status until I relinquish going-through-the-actions-but keeping-a self-will.
I know it’s the Lord because nine time out of ten, when my husband isn’t here my f-i-l sleeps til late morning, or even noon. But when I am here, he is up, dressed, ready for breakfast and wanting to know, “what’s on the program?” by 8:30 or 9:00. It is so predictable I know it’s a lesson for me.
And the lesson isn't in the details of household management. No, making oatmeal or coming up with some errands, whether I have any or not, so Pa can get out, or sitting awhile doing crosswords with him isn't difficult. It’s the invasion into my right to my own time that stirs up the inner murmurings. My reluctance to open my hands and let my rights slip through.
Jesus really has a way of getting to the heart of things, doesn't He?
I think of looking to the Lord and doing the things He leads me to as so visually presented in Psalm 123:
As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God.
But service is not just in doing the things—there’s this part also: Serve the LORD with gladness.—Psalm 100. And that’s the part He’s really after.
Welcome to the International Academy of Butling for the Lord where the instructor is merciful, and graceful, and ever-patient.
Blessings dear ones whichever course you are in. Be assured—He will perfect that which concerns you!