The Complex Servant
Chef. Artist. Band-aid distributor. Tutor. Employee. Employer. Friend. Daughter. Wife. Mother. Servant.
The lives of women are complex at best, and more often, verge on the chaotic. The umbrella of our identity shelters a range of roles and facets. We can be pulled in a million different directions.
As I read on in Serving Without Sinking this week, I saw the complexity of Jesus’ identity as both our master and our servant. Jesus’ nuanced identity means that ours as his servant has more complexity to it than we might have first imagined. Being in Christ and served by Him doesn’t reduce the complexity of our lives. You might wish I could tell you that serving Jesus would make life simpler, but in truth, our complex identity in Christ as His servants enriches our lives and approach to service for the better.
These next four chapters present us with four attitude-altering identities that have been won for those of us who are in Christ. Jesus’ service plants those of us who follow Him into four identity categories. Through adoption into God’s family, we are one of His sons. Through His sacrificial life-giving love, we’re made into Jesus’ bride. In accordance with Jesus’ words in John 15, Hindley proposes that because “Jesus has taken the secret things that belonged to the Lord and shared them with His disciples” we serve as Jesus’ friend. All of these are informed by the fact that we are people who Jesus serves. After all, “Jesus’ greatness is not that He can command the service of millions; it is that He serves millions”.
What has really changed my thinking as I read these chapters was the realisation that though I am just a lowly servant, serving is not the obligation of the lowly follower, but our privilege and delight. It is crazy really, to think that I, this selfish, covetous, slanderous and jealous woman, can be given the identity I have been given in Christ.
Perhaps what struck a chord for you though was the assertion that there should be an absence of obligation in our approach to serving. Do you feel over-worked, only abiding by an obligation? Perhaps you struggle to see the joy in serving? We can easily feel enslaved by service, while everyone around us seems free to do what they want with their down time. Slogging it out in the ministry field, we really just long to be liberated. But the reality is sobering. If we traded in our slavery to God, our return would be no gain at all, but slavery to worthless idols. Our service is in light of the liberated identity handed to us in Jesus.
So how do we go forward with our service after reading these chapters? Refining our image of the complex master and servant is going to change the way we serve. Jesus is a master we can serve as a friend, as a husband and as a father, but ultimately, as the one who serves us more infinitely that we could ever imagine or carry out ourselves.
So there might be a need for us to dive deeply into the scriptures to understand these truths about Jesus with a richness that seeps out into our approach to serving.
Again and again we need to come back to Jesus to understand the identity He’s given us, and the great gift this is. We love the Servant, serve the Servant and are built up by the Servant.