Saturday, February 9, 2008

Servants of the Lord

Lately, I have been thinking quite a bit about what it means to truly serve the Lord and others. How should we serve? When should we give service? How often? To what extent? In what manner?

This morning I looked through all the New Testament verses and several Old Testament verses (by using our NASB concordance) that dealt with words such as 'serve', 'serving', 'servant', etc.

Firstly, when we become believers in Jesus Christ, we turn from the things of the world in order to serve the Lord. Instead of serving the flesh we are to serve God. Paul in writing to the Thessalonians, rejoices “For they themselves report about us what kind of reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,” (1 Thessalonians 1:9); and Christ taught his disciples that “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Luke 16:13; also found in Matthew 6:24)

The Israelites were also called to turn from serving under the Old Covenant to instead serve God under the New Covenant through Christ: “But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound [the Old Testament Law], so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” (Romans 7:6) and "For you were called to freedom [from Law], brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13).

We are not to serve the things of the world and our flesh, but instead, the Lord. “And do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Romans 6:13).There is no gray area between the two; it is either black or it is white. We cannot serve both. We cannot have our heart’s allegiance placed on two opposite courses; two different paths. “Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” ’ ” (Luke 4:8; also found in Matthew 4:10). God alone should we seek to serve and no other.

Christ is our perfect example in service:

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45; also found in Matthew 20:28)

For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the tables? But I am among you as the one who serves.” (Luke 22:27 )

Christ’s service was the ultimate. He gave Himself entirely for others. He did not seek His own interests, but only those things that were “pleasing to Him [meaning God the Father]” (John 8:29). Christ later exhorts His disciples: “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26). We are to follow in Christ’s path of service. He has left us an example to “follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). This serving, this following in His steps, is obedience to His Word. Keeping His Word and living it in our lives.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship,” (Romans 12:1). Our entire beings, every aspect of our lives, are to be offered as a sacrifice unto God which is true spiritual service and worship to Him. This is what God desires from us; a true denial of self, and surrender and obedience to God.

We are to also “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,” (Ephesians 6:7). We are to be “serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which come upon [us]” (Acts 20:19). And in all of this we are to “Serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2). This ought to be our heart in serving, not grudgingly, but with joy and gladness.

As we strive to follow Christ’s example and grow in these areas, we should become known and marked by others as servants of God by how we live our lives. Others should be able to look at us and see, and to know, whom we serve. In the book of Daniel, King Darius recognized where Daniel’s heart was placed. The morning after Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, the king hurried out and exclaimed: “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?” (Daniel 6:20). The king had attained a knowledge of “the living God”, because of Daniel’s boldness and commitment to serving God and Him alone.

Phoebe and Tychicus were both recognized by Paul as fellow servants of the Lord and of the church (brothers and sisters in the Lord). “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea;” (Romans 16:1), and “Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord” (Colossians 4:7).

To the Corinthians, Paul expresses his heart by saying: “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” (1 Corinthians 4:1). Paul desired men to recognize those who claim to be believers in Christ as those who are also servants of Him. We should ask ourselves: How do men regard us? When they think of us, do they think of an accomplished musician? A great career woman? An exceptional homemaker? Talented in arts and crafts? Excelling in studies? Or do they recognize this about us, that we are servants of Christ? It is a sobering, yet convicting thought.

Serving the Lord, and then also serving others, is vital if we claim to be followers of Christ. God desires it, and He also commands it. Our genuine service to the Lord is pleasing to Him, and by our service and obedience, God will be glorified.

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11

-Posted by Sarah


  1. Thank you for your look at serving. It's a reminder I needed.

    I wonder if people know that Christ is the most important part of my life. Pray that I will shine His light clearly.

    Maria Pauline

  2. We are thankful that the post was a blessing to you, Maria! The study was quite convicting for us also.

    We will be praying for you, and that is our prayer for ourselves as well. May we all be that "city set on a hill [that] cannot be hidden" (Matthew 5:14).

    Thank you for your comment!