Service or servanthood? Part 1

This is a piece of devotional writing by a good friend that I felt ought to find a place up on this blog. In fact, I already have a future post planned as a response to it (hence the title!). Charlene Picart has a number of strings to her bow; she currently serves as a Bible worker for an SDA church in the UK and is working on her first book.

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Matthew 24:45-51 (New King James Version)

45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47 Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. 48 But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 51 and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant…?” This open-ended question from Jesus is an invitation that outlines the job description and conditions of one who would seek to answer, ‘I am …’ to that question.

The invitation is to be responsible for keeping the house of God in order and to feed His people with heavenly food- The Word of God.

The job title is SERVANT and the responsibility is leadership.

I am writing these thoughts up from my devotion this morning and sharing with each of you because in someway or other, each of us is desirous to answer, ‘I am’ to Jesus’ invitation. Please permit me to remind us of things we already know with the following thoughts…

Often we confuse ourselves as to the meanings and implications of the words servant and leadership. The word for servant in this passage of Matthew, is the Greek word ‘DUOLOS’ which means a slave or bondman. This word was used to denote the lowest position of servitude for a person and is primarily descriptive of the relationship of a servant to his master; it means to be in subjection to the will of another (Christ) who in turn is subject to another still (the Father).

THE FOCUS IS ON THE RELATIONSHIP NOT THE SERVICE!

Do we however find ourselves focusing more on the service rather than the relationship? For those of us called to service, there is the danger of mistakenly thinking our job description comes from Matt 23:11 instead of Matt 24:45. The word for servant in Matt 23:11 is ‘DIAKONOS’ which is descriptive of the activity of our work. Our active work for Christ will indeed set us apart and Matt 23 is indeed important to consider, BUT our call to ministry with job title and description, I would humbly suggest are given by the use of DOULOS in Matt 24:45.

Jesus is making it very clear that He is more concerned with our relationship to Him above our works for Him.

As servants of Christ our focus should be to a serving relationship with our Maker leaving our actions and work merely as evidence. The pursuit of work and actions on behalf of God however noble, may appear honorable to men and to us, but let us not forget that God looks not on the outward things but on the heart. (1 Sam 16:7)

“It is the motive that gives character to our acts, stamping them with ignominy or with high moral worth. Not the great things which every eye sees and every tongue praises does God account most precious. The little duties cheerfully done, the little gifts which make no show, and which to human eyes may appear worthless, often stand highest in His sight. A heart of faith and love is dearer to God than the most costly gift.” DOA p615

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant…?”

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