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Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Hole in the Ear: The Willing Servant

Some years ago, my husband and I directed a children’s camp with the theme of non-typical superheroes. They were servants. We wanted to teach the children that the way God sees it, it’s cool to serve.

What does it mean to be a servant?

Thankfully, we haven’t gotten completely away from praising those who serve others. In the wake of tragedy, police, firemen, rescue personnel, and normal bystanders all become heroes as they rescue those affected. We recognize their sacrificial service.

Willing service means being more focused on the one being served than on ones’ self.

In the Old Testament, a servant could opt to stay permanently with his boss. He made this choice for love. Here’s the passage: And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever (Exodus 21:5-6). The outward sign of his choice was a pierced ear.

God wants us to serve Him with that same kind of heart attitude. He doesn’t make us do it. He wants us to be volunteer servants.

I recently began a new Bible study* and discovered this list of people that God calls His servants:
            Elijah (2 Kings 10:10)
            Job (Job 1:8)
            Abraham (Psalm 105:42)
            David (Isaiah 37:35)
            Jacob (Isaiah 48:20)
            Epaphras (Col 4:12)
            Moses (Revelation 15:3)

These people called themselves (by inspiration) “servants of God”:
            Paul (Romans 1:1)
            James (James 1:1. This one is written by Jesus’ half brother, who didn’t believe 
                     in Jesus until after the resurrection. I find it interesting that he would describe 
                     himself as His servant.)
            Peter (2 Peter 1:1)
            Jude (Jude 1, also one of Jesus’ half brothers)
            John (Revelation 1:1)

A lady named Phebe was called a servant of the church at Cenchrea (Romans 16:1, 27).

God doesn’t look at our position, whether we’re a servant or the boss. He looks at whether we serve Him from our heart. Read what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth: For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God (1 Corinthians 7:22-24).

God wants us to want to serve Him. He wants us to willingly get His mark, freely choosing to do His will.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. . . . Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord (Romans 12:1-2, 9-11).

This passage says that a complete giving of ourselves is reasonable service—something we naturally owe to the Lord—and indicates we should serve God energetically.

Our natural response to the incredible gift of salvation is service.

Let’s be enthusiastic volunteers!

* Grace for Every Trial by Betty Henderson. (I added a few names to her list.)


  1. Si es cierto, cuando comprendes lo que significa la salvación y lo que Jesucristo hizo por notros lo único en lo que piensas cada día que pasa es en como poder servir cada vez mejor al Señor.
    Ser un siervo de Dios es lo mejor que uno puede hacer en su vida.

    1. Tienes toda la razón, que es una manera de decir "gracias." (You are right. Servanthood is a way we say "thank you."

      I appreciate your comment, Tere. God bless!

  2. Some months ago a guest speaker at church mentioned a flight attendant who was going the extra mile to see to her passengers needs, and he commented on her "servant's heart," meaning it as a compliment. She got angry with him and insisted she was not a "servant." That highlighted that we have to be careful because the unsaved don't always know what we mean by our Christian catchphrases, but it also showed what a bad rap serving has gotten. Funny how the world appreciates good service, such as from the flight attendant or a good waitress or nurse, but thinks it is demeaning instead of an honorable thing to serve.

    1. Oh yes, such a difficult word to appreciate. "Servant" sounds like being less--when actually it's being more. Being a servant of the Lord is the greatest thing we can be. Jesus said loving God is first; loving others is second. It seems to follow that we should both serve God and man. Nothing more noble than that.

      Thank you, Barbara, for your telling that story. God bless you!


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