top of page

Servant Of Christ: Highest And Lowest Of Calls


Servant Of Christ: Highest And Lowest Of Calls
Being a Servant of Christ is personal and voluntary. Grounded in love and faith, it is intimate, submissive, strong, holy, and exclusive.

Table of Contents:




Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ*, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, - Romans 1:1

*following a name indicates there is a short biography of that person in my book SPIRITUAL LIVES.

What is a servant?


noun

ser·vant ˈsər-vənt

Synonyms of servant

: one that serves others

a public servant

especially: one that performs duties about the person or home of a master or personal employer


domestic

• flunky

• flunkey

• flunkie

• lackey

• menial

• retainer

• steward



Personal and voluntary relationship


The first thing I notice in the definition is the personal requirement. This makes the terms “public servant,” and “servant leadership” suspect. The role of a servant is not work, labor, or employment, but personal service.


The second thing I notice is its subservient status. This is reflected in the synonyms above. No one ones to be a “flunky,” “menial,” “lackey,” or “domestic.” “Retainer” and “steward” are exalted terms for servants with specialized responsibilities, but all servants are just a step above slaves. What differentiates the two is the servant’s voluntary status vs the slave’s total powerlessness.


Servants of God


The word “servant” appears 502 times in the King James* Bible and reflects all of what was said above. But 31 times “servants of God” are named (or “of the LORD” or “of Jesus Christ.*”) These are all men, but there is a woman, who calls herself “the handmaid of the Lord.” Let’s look at these servants of God and learn from them.


Moses


Moses* is the first person the Bible calls a “servant of God,” or “the LORD,” and the title is applied to him 22 times of the 31 times it is used. It appears only once in the books of Moses and was written by someone else after his death.


This is indicative of Moses*, the character of meekness, and one we will see in all these servants of God.


(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) Numbers 12:3


This was an acquired trait and was certainly not true of him during the first 40 years of his life. Then he “was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” Acts 7:22


This culminated in his using his might to kill an Egyptian and being driven out of the glories of Egypt to “the backside of the desert,” where he lived in a very dependent position taking care of sheep for his father-in-law for another 40 years.


The result of all of this was an encounter with God in a burning bush. This is essential in being a servant of God, a personal encounter with God.


And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. Exodus 33:11


In this first encounter of the burning bush, God had big job for Moses, but his meekness shows at once, “Who am I?” he asks, but the LORD gives him this assurance, “Certainly I will be with thee,” and so it was.


This was the beginning of another 40-year relationship and journey, where the LORD used Moses to lead His people out of bondage, through the wilderness, and to the Promised Land. Along the way, He gave him and us the Ten Commandments and the first 5 books of the Bible. Praise God!


Before his life was over, Moses had passed along this spirit of servanthood to a worthy successor:


Joshua


Joshua* was Moses’ servant for 40 years. He was faithful and true to Moses and to the LORD. Just before Moses died we read,


And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:

And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses. -Numbers 27:22-23


In some ways the transition from Moses to Joshua was seamless, but the circumstance were changed. The manna stopped. The Jordan was crossed. The people were circumcised.


The Lord affirmed Joshua’s leadership:


There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. – Joshua 1:5


We don’t know whether the LORD spoke to him via a dream or vision, or by an articulate voice out of the sanctuary, but He spoke to him as a minister, i.e. Moses’ successor, an office of state. The personal encounter with the LORD, as Moses had in the burning bush, had not yet occurred. But it was to come.


Just before the battle of Jericho, he saw a man with a drawn sword who announced Himself as “Captain of the LORD’s host” who said to Joshua,


‘Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:15

Now Joshua had the same experience as Moses when he was called to be a servant of the LORD. Joshua was very much aware of this, using the phrase “Moses, the servant of the LORD,” 13 times, but never of himself. After he died, the writer of the Book of Joshua then recorded, “Joshua, the servant of the LORD” and repeated it in Judges. It was a testimony of his whole life, as it was with Moses.


David*, Old Testament Servant of Christ


Is called “the servant of the LORD” twice in the headings of Psalms 18 and 36 as a part of the directions to the “chief musician” putting the word of David’s song to music. The testimony in 18 is “who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul:”


Traveling with David* through 1 Samuel, we see the closeness of the relationship David had with the LORD from his anointing as a young boy to his last words before dying at 70. More than anyone else, David waited on the LORD as His servant.


15 times the LORD calls him “my servant David,’ and David himself says in Pslam 116:16 -- O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.


David lived a glorious life as the servant of the LORD and is the most complete and personal relationship with Him of anyone in the Old Testament. But that changes in the New.


Mary*


Luke introduces the mother of the Lord in her own words:

My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. - Luke 1:46-48

The ESV replaces “handmaiden” with “servant” but throughout The Magnificat the emphasis is on her submission and “low estate,” or humility.


The testimony of her whole life can be capsulized in two quotes: “be it unto me according to thy word,” Luke 1:38, and “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it,” John* 2:5


In Mary* we see the perfect servant of God, a personal, intimate relationship, an adoration, worship of the LORD, “the Most High,” and an exclusivity in that relationship that produces extraordinary faithfulness and absolute separation to Him and from the world.


Mary’s life and testimony were visible to few, but her son Jude was among them. He calls himself the servant of Jesus Christ,* and brother of James, Jude 1:1, and they both were inspired to that position by their mother’s example.


St. Paul*, transformed Servant of Christ


This “servant of Jesus Christ” is unique to this group because he began his life as opposed to all aspects of servanthood. Humility was not his suit. In his own words:


If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. – Philippians 3:4-6


He not only did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but he also hated Him and built his life around persecuting His followers.


How did all that change? Jesus appeared to him, knocked him off his horse, put him in the dust, blinded him at noon with “a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun,” and called him to be an apostle. The change was polar. He testifies,


But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: -- Philippians 7-9.


How did this occur? It was a miracle, of course, a divine revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven that transformed Saul of Tarsus into St. Paul the Apostle. The visible means we see in the New Testament are:


1.) Suffering, ....he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. --Jesus in Acts 9:16) and


2.) Separation. Paul amplifies his separation to teach the Corinthians: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:

  • for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

  • And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

  • And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? f

  • or ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

  • Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. - 2 Corinthians 6:14-18


The call to be separate from the world and evil is a foundational step, but the culmination of servanthood is to be separated “unto the gospel of God.”

The old song puts it like this:


Leaving all to follow Jesus,
Turning from the world away,
Stepping out upon His promise,
All I have is His today. – Ida M. Budd, 1898

The scriptural context is that of the Levites in the Old Testament who were indeed entirely separated from the other 12 tribes of Israel to serve in the Tabernacle. They were given none of the land of Canaan as a possession or inheritance but the LORD and His service were their portion. They served day and night from age 20 to 60 taking care of God’s people and obeying His Law.


Paul records the only other person referred to in the Bible as a servant of Christ:


Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.


Paul valued his coworker and above all the honor of being a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ:


Yea, so doth the apostle commend this excellency, that he sets the title of servant before that of an apostle; first servant, then apostle. Great was his office in being an apostle, greater his blessing in being a servant of Jesus Christ; the one is an outward calling, the other an inward grace. There was an apostle condemned, never any servant of God. --Thomas Adams.(1583-1652)


Of course, untold servants of the Lord Jesus Christ have given their lives to Him and worked with Him to build His Kingdom. I count myself as one and trust you do too. It is the most wonderful calling we can have, high and low at the same time, but glorious in both.


17 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page