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Scriptural Servanthood

Published on:

12 February 2024

The duty of a servant today in its narrow definition is suggesting the compelling servitude services that is expected of a slave or housemaid or other house-helpers serving in our society. This type of service always come along with all kinds of ill-treatment and occasional slapping and verbal dressing down to the helpless poor servant.  When it comes to governmental leadership, the appointed leaders are figuratively described as servants. This is because of the assumption that anyone employed through popular elections in a community or in a nation, to rise to the position of a leader or a high office in the nation, the person is employed by the masses that elected him to represent them and serve the people. In our democratic system, this type of servant always assemble capable hands and knowledgeable people in his circle of his political influence, dialogue and consult with them, and finally vote in the parliamentary setting to take decision on behalf of the masses who voted him in as their leader without their consultations.

There is another definition of a servant that is not popular nowadays and it is the subject of our discussion today.  It is the Scriptural Servant. The term Scriptural Servant is to analyze and address the honorable duties that had been relegated to the background in our time. A servant of God is “a devoted faithful and loyal individual serving in righteousness and in the reverential fear of God. This type of servant may be serving as slave in the house-help setting, may also be serving in a corporate setting, or it may be in the governmental capacity, but the guiding principle of this servanthood is always the fear of God in their services.  These type of servants are ready to humble themselves to honor and comply with the instructions of the appointed leaders higher than them. These servants at times may even be subjected to inhumane treatment or other physical and mental abuse, but they never retaliate and never give room for resentments in their hearts. They always focus on the righteousness and fear of God as their guiding principle. They always believe that their faithful services is unto the Lord, and they always look unto the Lord in their services.

Joseph was taken away from the comfort of his home through household wicked of his brothers. He was forced to relocate from the dry pit to slavery in the house of Potiphar, but he knew that his labor in the Lord was not in vain. His master became so blessed because of the presence of Joseph in his home and he entrusted all his business to him. Joseph rendered all his excellent services in the fear of God. That was why he did not give in to the temptation of the wife of Potiphar, saying “No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9)

Despite the inhumane treatment meted against the slaves in the olden days, the unnamed servant of the Namaan was still thoughtful of rendering kindness unto others in the abundant love of God. The slave girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:3) The servants of the army general further persuaded the arrogant master, saying, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!” (2 Kings 5:13-14)

Daniel, Shadrack, Meshak and Abednego, were slaves from the exploit of the Babylonian empire against the nation of Israel. They were even castrated and made eunuchs in order to serve in the palace of the Babylonian kingdom. This was the fulfillment of the prophetic utterance of Isaiah, “And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” (Isaiah 39:7) But because of their right standing in righteousness and holiness in their relationship with God, they purposed in their mind not to defile themselves with idolatry delicacies meal of the idolatry king. Daniel, the spokesman of the four chosen Hebrew requested to opt out of the meal. “Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods” (Daniel 1:8)

Nehemiah was also a slave harvested as a spoil of war. He was serving as a cup-bearer in the palace of king Artaxerxes. Many of us think that the job schedule of cup-bearer entails only serving wine to the king.  The service of a cup-bearers entails loyalty to the king, absolute trust to the appointed leader, ready to endanger himself in order to save his master.  The cup-bearer must always drink from the cup before serving the wine to the king.  The fact that Nehemiah, a slave was appointed as a cup-bearer of the king testified to his purity of character, loyalty, holy and righteous life that he was living then.  In this sensitive job schedule of cup-bearer in the palace of an idolatry king, he was still thoughtful of the precarious situation of the people of God in Jerusalem. In this heart of thoughtfulness he broke down in tears when a report came to him about the broken-down wall of the city of Jerusalem. “O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.” (Nehemiah 1:11) He sought the face of God for help and divine intervention.  Heaven smiled upon Nehemiah and in the divine favor of God, the king granted his request and appointed him to rebuild the broken-down wall of the city of Jerusalem. His faithful and diligent services made it to the Bible.

The scriptural servants mentioned above were at a certain time in life subjected to unpleasant ordeals, but they never blinked, and never retaliated. They never give room for resentment. Even in the face of the horrible persecution they went through they never engaged themselves in plots to harm or destroy anyone.  They were not interested in any form of politics, and they never engaged in any. They were noted for dedication and diligence in service. The hallmark of their Scriptural Servanthood is obedience to the truth that the word of God represented. Among the faithful servants are the Pastors, the Evangelists, the Prophets and other various Spiritual leaders and workers in the household of faith. These servants serve with conviction, they are consistent with the tenet of the word of God. They are transparent in their leadership both in private and public lives. They are only readily available to render selfless service to their masters in love and in the absolute fear of God. Impliedly these servants all played the role of Ambassador of Almighty God in their services demonstrating the beauty of grace of God even in the painful ordeal of servitude of slavery.

I know of a sister in our church.  She does not hold any leadership title in the church and was never hold microphone to preach. But her dedication and faithfulness is glaringly noticeable. When the church closed for the day, her services began.  She would clean and dust the chairs. She would vacuum the carpet of the auditorium and sweep the floor where needed and make the auditorium clean and decent and make the place livable. She would decorate the pulpit beautifully and render those service as if she needed to do so in order to live another day. She would wash the toilets and clean every nook and cranny as if she was being paid to render those services.  She let her physical responsibilities in the vineyard of God to preach faithfulness, consistency and dedication to whosoever have eyes to see and ear to hear. I always wonder why she is rendering all these services consistently, the word of God in 1 Corinthians 15:58 provides me the answer saying, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast and immovable. Always excel in the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Beloved of the Lord think of the diligence and faithfulness of the servants of the Living God enumerated above and ask yourselves a soul-searching question, in what way do I fit in into the category of the faithful servants mention above? “In what way am I serving the Living God in my day-to-day services on earth?” “Am I faithfully and diligently serving and at the same time representing Christ ambassador in my working place?” “Am I faithful and fair in my relationship with my spouse and my children?  Am I a faithful worker in the church and what is my input in terms of services and responsibilities in the vineyard of Christ? Can my relationship and activities with people describe me as an ambassador of Christ? Does my life become a testimony that passed the acceptable service in righteousness and holiness on the scale of Heavenly King? If you are serving God with malice, resentment and indignation in the household of faith, this type of services cannot pass the acceptable test of God’s approval. Think, the Lord will open the eyes of your understanding.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please open my eyes of understanding to those things that pleases you.  Grant me the grace to look beyond secular to spiritual in my daily services to my family, my employer and above all my services in the household of faith.  Let the fear of God be my guiding principles in all my services and please Lord, let the work of my hands be acceptable unto You in Jesus name, Amen.


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