I prayed about whether to attend the conference.

A dream rolled a motorcycle to my porch. The director rapped on the front door. “We’ve got work to do.”

Along the winding road to the summit, I anticipated a supportive role during the conference. I woke with a chuckle about the motorcycle ride, but continued to pray about attending the conference for the next few weeks. The Lord impressed His desire for me to go, but also underscored the serious part of my dream–keeping a servant’s heart.

I arrived a day early, searching for an opportunity to serve. An extra trip to pick up a stranded conferee seemed like a small way to help. I enjoyed the company too much to consider it sacrificial.

The next morning, I battled through the fugue of insufficient sleep and visited a local church. The message centered on Jesus’ call for us to imitate Him as He washed the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper. Ways to deepen my willingness to serve grew clearer by the moment.

Numerous opportunities sprang up around me. I realized these needs existed in plain sight each day. In busy-mindedness, my tendency would trend toward missing the chances to emulate Christ. Had the Lord not instructed me to focus on serving, I would have retained my gaze on the next agenda item for each day.

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and 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 13:13-17).

Each moment I took to encourage a first-timer, help a new writer, or pray with someone, it blessed me. Time could have passed in shallow, watch-checking minutes if I had ignored those opportunities. I’m thankful Christ shifted my focus away from what I could get out of the conference. Instead, my patient Shepherd used the week to teach me how to follow in His steps.

Despite the wealth of information in its classes, the most valuable thing I learned didn’t come from a lecture or workshop but from the Servant’s lesson. I pray He will continue His patient teaching as long as I have time left to walk this earth.