Jimmy is a simple man. In pretty much every way. Occasionally cantankerous, he stands guard over his domain - the church’s kitchen - keeping the younger generation safely outside its borders. He stands at the sanctuary’s entrance, anticipating his opportunity to usher the offering and communion plates. He has few wants and fewer needs. To some, he’s almost invisible, and he prefers it that way. . On retreat one year, Alice and her senior friends were struggling at the food line. At least, so it seemed to me. Alice’s cane hooked over her arm as she slid the heavy plastic tray along the metal bar. I rushed over to carry their trays. . Gently, Alice assured me she needed no help from me. “When we get to the end, Jimmy will be there.” And sure enough, when the gals got to the end, Jimmy was there ready to carry the trays to their table. He had been doing that for every meal. Where had I been?
The impact of Alice’s statement took me from the dining hall to the pearly gates. When Jimmy gets to the end, he will be there. He is a faithful servant seeking nothing in return, investing his talents in the lives of others. It was to those who had invested their talents that the Master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: … taking the very nature of a servant.” Phil. 2:1-7
Unlike biblical times, we are a servants by choice, not of a harsh master, but of a loving and kind one. In fact, our Master knows what it is to be a servant. He said that He Himself came not to be served, but to serve, and He set an example for us to follow. It is not hard to serve our Lord and Master because of His character.
The great price He paid for us gives us security, freeing us from worry. A servant doesn’t need to worry about where his next house payment is coming from, where his next meal is coming from. The servant knows that the Master has taken care of all that the servant needs, maybe not every desire, but certainly all the needs. A servant is a demanding full-time, life-time job, but with wonderful long-term benefits.
Being a servant means relinquishing control to the Master. In today’s culture where it is almost fashionable to be a “control-freak,” it goes against the very fabric of our society to voluntarily yield to another’s wishes. But 2000 years ago, faced with the daunting charge of birthing and mothering the Son of God, young Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” She surely had other plans - to be married to a godly carpenter, honorably raising a devout Jewish family, respected in her hometown. However, in identifying herself as a servant, she surrendered control and set aside her desires to satisfy those of her Master.
To be a servant, we don’t need to have all the answers or abilities. In fact, we find God’s strength more glorified when we serve Him in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). The old adage goes, “God is not looking for our ability, but our avail-ability.” He wants a willing servant that He can work through.
Check out this list:
the 3 patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob; Moses; Joshua; Ruth; Hannah; Samuel; David; Solomon; Elijah; Nehemiah; Job; Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego; Daniel; Mary; Jesus; Paul; Peter; James; Timothy; John... . This list could be a Who’s Who of important, influential people in the Bible, yet each one was called or called themselves a servant of the Lord. As you embrace the identity of a servant, what might your future hold?
"Speak, for your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:10