Servant. Slave. Neither title is very appealing to us. Master. Leader. Boss. These are better terms for us. More appealing. Comforting. Encouraging. Rewarding.
But there’s a problem. Christians aren’t called to be bosses. We’re called to be servants and slaves. Used almost 150 times in the New Testament the terms are frequently used to describe Christians. In Acts 16:17 Paul and Barnabas are called “servants of the most high God” because it was obvious they were doing his work. In Romans 1:1, in the first verse Paul calls himself a “servant.” In Romans 6:6 we learn that we are all servants. The only question is who we belong to.
Let’s consider some things about the life of a slave.
The purpose of a slave is to work. He does things that may not be particularly attractive but still needed. A slave who does not work but only watches from the sidelines while others work is slothful.
Slaves Work When They Are Told – Not When They Want
A slave arises when he is told, works when he is told and rests only when is work is done. Paul often struggled with his desires versus what the Lord wanted. (Acts 16:6-12; Romans 1:13)
Slaves Do the Work They Are Told – Not What They Want
It might be that someone wants to be quiet and just watch from a comfortable distance. There is no such option for a servant. He does the work the Lord assigns. Among those commands in the Great Commission and the requirement that we evangelize (Matthew 28:18,19).
Slaves Aren’t Bosses
This may be where the rubber really meets the road for modern people. We all want to be bosses. But there is only room for one at the top. It’s not the preacher, it’s not the elders, it’s not you. It is Jesus of Nazareth who died and bought the church (Acts 20:28). He alone is our master.
Slaves Are Dependent on Their Master for Everything
A slave has no possessions and depends solely on his Lord. His future is completely tied to his Master. As Jesus said, a servant is not above his Lord (Matthew 10:24). That is an important reminder to those who think they can “do church” better than what Jesus said. The faithful, reliable servant looks forward to the final reward (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
It is useful for us to give thought to our lives and how well we fit the description of servant. Let’s gladly trade our visions of earthly glory for a slave’s job. We will be well rewarded.
Do you think we have the right view?