The Very Nature of a Servant

“Be your own Santa” was the self-centred slogan that caught my eyes on a flyer recently delivered to our home. In our selfish, ‘selfie’ culture, this is what it’s all about? Forget about giving, forget about others, spend your money on yourself, after all you deserve it!

Don’t misunderstand, we all are tempted to selfishness as Christians.  Selfish ambition is evidence of a sinful nature that craves indulgence not only during the holiday season. It’s a battleground to place the needs of others and primarily of God ahead of your own. “Seek LAST the kingdom of God,” is not what Jesus commanded. “Love the LORD your God with SOME of your heart and SOME of your soul and SOME of your strength and SOME of your might….”  That would be easier than the biblical imperative of ALL.

Christmas, I mean that first Christmas, was all about self-sacrifice. “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6,7 NIV)

Christ Jesus…in very nature God…taking the very nature of a servant? Do you understand this? I confess my mind is overwhelmed with this meditative thought.  When we sing “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne,” or “Down From His Glory,” we’re singing this truth and reminding others exactly who Jesus is.

As Paul pens Ephesians 6:5-9, he understands slavery.  He saw the multitude of slaves who had no status in Roman society.  He would write Philippians, at the same time, and describe himself and Timothy as servants of Christ Jesus, and then he would also write Philippians 2.  

Before I conclude with the actual text of Ephesians 6:5-9, consider the following questions.

1) Did Jesus Christ manifest obedience?

2) Did He demonstrate respect and fear toward His Father?

3) Did He win the favour of His Father?

4) Did He not do the will of God from His heart?

5) Did He serve the Father wholeheartedly?

6) Did He receive a reward from the Father because of what He had done?

This SERVANT of servants has much to teach those of us who often occupy lesser possessions.  Though pressed by our culture to assert our ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms,’ those of us who know Jesus Christ are called to a higher standard.

“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.

And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Maser and yours in heaven, and there is no favouritism with him.”

This SERVANT of servants, who ‘came not be be served, but to serve’ (Mark 10:45a), models for us what genuine service is. Let us reflect carefully on who HE is and why HE came and then having been transformed by God’s grace, made possible as He gave ‘his life a ransom for many, (Mark 10:45b), let us busy ourselves with serving Him by serving others.  {The picture accompanying this post is of one of many fellow believers in Jesus Christ, who served me while I visited India.}

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