“No One Waits for a Domestique (LOTOJA Part 3)” – Sept. 21

September 21, 2015

“It shall not be so among you.  But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:26-28

Thank you for sticking with me as I have reflected upon my experience at the 2015 LOTOJA.  You can find part one and two here:  No One Waits for a Domestique (LOTOJA Part 1); No One Waits for a Domestique (LOTOJA Part 2).lotoja map_thumb[2]

I surmise that the general impression from the reading of my LOTOJA experience will be viewed as rather negative.

The LOTOJA is a very long bike ride on which you experience many emotions.  I experienced spectacular vistas, exceptional volunteers, and the exhilaration of achievement.  Yet, those experiences are not what come to my mind as I reflect upon the LOTOJA.  I have to consciously push aside my memories of frustration to mine the positive from my LOTOJA experience.

This reality demonstrates a distinct failure on my behalf. 

I allowed the behavior of others to dominate my perception of an epic ride.  I grumbled through seventy-five percent of my LOTOJA. My grumbling was fixated upon actions that demonstrated a disregard of my expectations.  I realize that the recounting of my fellow riders may characterize them as being rude.  However, it is not an entirely fair characterization.  They are good guys.  I never perceived any ill will through our trip.

Therefore, I choose to view my LOTOJA as a case study in differing expectations.

The term domestique, in cycling road racing, refers to the cyclist who works for the team and team leader.  They are the cyclists who carry the water bottles and food and do the work of pulling team members through difficult sections.  The French word, Domestique, is translated “servant.”

I had the expectation that this ride would consist of a team composed entirely of domestiques.  We were going to be servants to each other in order that we would all finish together.

981002_10201434224324276_965735367_oApparently, my team did not share my expectation.  They held an understanding more typical of cycling racing in which a domestique is dropped when he ceases to be useful.  My grumbling originated in the offensiveness of being treated as a domestique.  No one waits for a domestique and I had expected someone to wait for me.

I grumbled away the blessings of an epic ride dwelling upon unfulfilled expectations.

I confess that the LOTOJA is not the first time where I have allowed my grumbling to dominate the perception of my life.  I have expectations, like most people.  Those expectations typically reside upon people who are close to me.  I have expectations of family, friends, and Church fellowship.  I have the most expectations of those who have joined me on this spiritual journey called “life.”

I have relatively few expectations, beyond lawfulness, of those who are outside the immediacy of my life.  I don’t have a problem with them treating me as a servant.  If a person is not a Christian, I don’t expect him to display the fruits of the Spirit.  As John Newton  stated, they warrant my deepest pity, kindness, and prayers.  If he is a Christian, I seem to be more inclined to extend him grace because I don’t know his level of spiritual maturity.

I struggle most when those who are close to me treat me like a domestique.  I am referring to those situations when someone we consider a teammate in life acts upon differing expectations or fails to live up to our standard.

It hurts when those expectations are not fulfilled. 

It hurts to be disregarded.
It hurts not to be valued.
It hurts to be perceived as useless.
It hurts not to be included.

It hurts to be treated as a servant.

long_road-aheadI have wasted too much of this epic life grumbling about being treated like a domestique.  I know of too many circumstances where someone has allowed an offense to linger for years because of a failure to meet an expectation.

I have no solution to avoid the hurt.  We live in a messy world.  Those who are close to me are imperfect humans with indwelling sin.  I am an imperfect man in need of sanctification.  We will let each other down and treat each other in ways that are perceived as undeserving.

Our fundamental problem is that we don’t inherently want to be treated as a servant.  We get our feelings hurt when we are not appreciated or valued or included.

We grumble when we are actually treated like the very person we have been called to be.  Many Christians are comfortable with the title of servant just as long as they are not treated as such.

Ideally, we would live in a community abounding in the fruit of the Spirit where everyone has a servant’s attitude.  It would be like the perfect group ride where we are servants to each other in order that we would all finish well together.  That perfect world is coming, but it is not here today.   Our reality is that sometimes our teammates lose their servant’s attitude and do not reciprocate our expectations of servanthood and we are left feeling like a lowly domestique.

USAPCC_2Jesus called himself a domesitque.  Jesus did not come into this world to be served but to serve and he continued to serve even went He was treated like a servant…and worse.

We have been given an epic life to live.  Don’t allow the behavior of others to dominate your perception of value.  There are those in this world who may treat you like a lowly domestique.  Are you living for them?

God calls the true domestique great.  Greatness in the eyes of our Lord is our goal.  May we be true servants; in actions and attitudes.

PRAYER:  Father, forgive me for so often taking title of servant, but not the attitude.  Forgive me for allowing the opinions of others to dominate my perception.  Forgive me for not seeking first your kingdom and greatness in your eyes.  Help me Lord to be a servant in actions and attitude.  Help me to be joyful in being treated as your Son was treated; like a servant.  Give me a heart that values your approval above all others.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen


  1. Thanks JD. Just wrote in my journal the other day. “Two different animals – submitting and submitting with a good attitude.” Prayers by a couple friends and the SPIRIT’s work produced a good attitude in the particular situation.

    • Attitude is so important. God does love a cheerful giver.
      God Bless!

  2. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed this little series. I went to read this third part the other day as soon as it popped into my inbox but, was too tired that evening and gave up. And I’m glad I did because reading it this morning has of course, been timed to perfection!!
    My current life circumstances have lead me into a STEEP learning curve and I awoke today seeing that it is not what I’m being called to do that is the problem, it is my constant grumbling of what I’m being called to do that is draining me. I actually awoke to the word ‘grumbling’!
    What a spot on, challenging post this has been this morning. I can see I need to re-read and re-read!! I am indeed happy to regard myself a servant but am grumbling all the way through the actual serving!!
    And not only that, in the sharing of this testimony, you have helped me see that the fear I have regarding certain person is purely down to my expectation of them. How I change that though, I don’t know, I shall await revelation from the Spirit.
    A million thank you’s brother!

    • I am so glad to hear that this was a timely post and an encouragement. Thank you for your comments.
      God Bless!

  3. Great post! It really spoke to me today. I had my knickers in a knot over the way I was treated by well-meaning family members. I really need to just get over my own expectations. Regardless of what they did, it’s my own reaction that I can change. And you’re right, Christ gave us the example. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for you comments. I am happy to hear that it was encouraging to you.
      God Bless!

  4. One of the guys I ride with used to get dropped a lot. Then he learned to hang at the back for the first 75 miles of a century while my friends and I would do all of the heavy lifting. Lo and behold, he built up his fitness and he has become our aircraft carrier. When Mike, Chuck and I are cooked we ask, “Where’s Phill?”

    Before long, there he is, up front for five to ten miles at a time, pulling us home. I love me my Phill. What happened to you, well maybe you should find another crew. I’d change any one of my friend’s tires of they were to whipped to do it themselves. We always wait for each other.

    • That is the type of group that I normally ride with. It is great fun to ride together as a team, especially one with a lot of “Phils”. I am not sure that I will do another 200 mile/ 1 day ride. That was a long ways no matter how together the team is. However, I will definitely do it with a different group if I were to tackle another one.

      • Yeah, 200 miles is too much of a good thing. My limit is, at least till next year’s one day ride across Michigan, is 125 miles. Five of us are doing ODRAM and were targeting 7-1/2 hours for the 149 mile ride.

      • Now, that is more of a ride that I would enjoy. Too bad Michigan is so far away for me, otherwise I would come and join you.
        God Bless!

      • Ah, put it on the bucket list… 😉

        We’ll save a spot for you till you can make it.

  5. Thank you for sharing with us about being true servants . . .His servants. God bless you!

    • Debbie – you are very welcome.
      God Bless!

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