We are called to be servants. The bible makes that statement pretty clear. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 says, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.” Paul tells the Corinthians that one should regard them as servants. Jesus also tells us this in John 12:26, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” To be servants of Christ we must follow every word of Christ. It takes a lot of effort and endurance to continue in the work and service of Christ. There’s no part-time. No retirement. We owe it all to him. Why? Because he gave it all for us.
There is sometimes a lot of confusion between servants and slaves. Whether you’re talking Ancient Egyptians, Medieval, or the Civil War Era, there has always been slaves and servants. We tend to think of them as different. They were treated different, payed different, housed different. And to say they are different would be correct. Slaves were owned and paid little to none. Servants were hired and usually receive better care and wages than slaves. Let’s think about this for a moment. Most English translations of the bible use the word “servant” for the Greek word “doulos”. Doulos means “slave” in Greek, not servant. Also, a servant is usually paid for their work, slaves are not. Are we receiving an income for obeying and serving Christ? Not in a literal sense. The English translators probably did not use the word “slave” because it gives a negative effect on Scripture in the minds of some. So they chose “servant”. Whatever word you decide to put in there, it does not change the fact that we need to obey and serve Christ.
In our last article we discussed being a leader while also being a servant. Those are two main roles of a Christian. But being a servant takes a lot of humility and faith. No matter if you’re a servant or a slave you have a master. Someone who is head over you. Our relationship with God is the same. We are servants or slaves of him. John 13:16 tells us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” We must know that we are not better than God by any means. He sent us to serve and spread his Gospel message. If we look at historical hierarchies (and even some today), servants, or slaves are always at the bottom. Social wise, they are the least. But it’s just the opposite in the kingdom of God. Mark 9:35 says, “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” If we are servants, and serve everyone else, we will be first in the kingdom.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”- C.S. Lewis. This is one of my favorite quotes by Lewis because it holds a lot of value and meaning. If we’re always helping others and doing things for other people, we’re not thinking of ourselves at that point. Being a servant of Christ does not mean we think of ourselves as lowly people in God’s eyes. According to Him, we are the greatest, and that alone should be enough to make us want to serve Him. We must have faith and confidence in the one we serve.
Servants are obedient to their masters, but that does not mean they go without fault. We all make mistakes, that’s what makes us human. But when we do mess up our Master does not throw us in the dungeon to await our punishment. He sent his son, his only son, to die for the sins we will make. What a loving Master we have in heaven. To send his son who knew no sin to die for the ones who did. John 3:17 says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Through his Son we are forgiven.
Being a servant or slave of Christ does not go without hardship though. There will be hard times, trials, and temptations. Jesus warns us of this in John 16:33, “”I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” But we have hope, hope that we will be with our Father in heaven and we know that Christ has overcome the world. Romans 5:3 tells us this, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance..” When we suffer a little while the outcome should be perseverance and endurance. Compared to eternity, the sufferings of this world last as long as the blink of an eye.
As Jesus’ servants we will have a home in heaven. The road is not always easy, but we must rejoice in our sufferings (2 Corinthians 12:10). While on this earth though we must obey our Holy Master and serve faithfully.