If you are a follower of Jesus, you most likely consider yourself a servant, someone who seeks to do whatever God asks of you. But as I read this passage in Luke’s Gospel today, I wondered if I, and maybe you, really understand what being a servant is all about.
Several years ago there was a TV show called Downton Abbey, about a rich and influential dynasty in England, and the many servants who worked for them. I thought about it today as I read. The servants employed by the fictional Crawley family took pride in serving that particular family. Their respect in the town was measured by the wealth and social standing of the family they served. And whether serving dinner for kings, or doing their grocery shopping in the village, they behaved in an impeccable way, knowing they represented the Crawley family.
Got me to thinking. If I, as God’s servant, serve Him with the same intentionality, pride, and fervor as the servants of Downton Abbey? Or do I approach my position as a servant of God like it’s a job?
I might give it my all from 9-5, but reserve some me-time, too. I might serve Him with the intention of getting what I believe is due me for my effort. Maybe I obey Him expecting health and wealth and recognition.
Jesus said this about serving:
Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would you say to the servant when he comes in from the field, “Come along now and sit down to eat”? Would he not rather say, “Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink”? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” (verses 7-10; emphasis mine)
I would challenge us all to check our hearts as we consider these words of Jesus. What motivates each of us to obey God, to share the Gospel, to teach a Sunday School class or sing in the choir – to serve Him? What prompts us to have a pure vocabulary, to make choices that make us stand out in a fallen world?
If we aren’t serving God out of a heart overflowing with love and gratitude, recognizing that we represent Him in the town and in our homes, knowing that serving Him is a privilege and honor, and that He doesn’t owe us anything in return, then maybe we aren’t His servants after all. Maybe we’ve made Him our servant by expecting some reward or at least an easy go of life.
So, if after spending my day serving God, He prompts me to get off the couch in the evening and go at it again, I want only to say, “Yes, My Lord.” Then I want to serve Him with as much intention and fervor and humbleness as He deserves.