Thursday, March 28, 2013

servant dignity

Read Philippians 2 and Isaiah 53

Will anyone of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come back from the field, “Come at once and recline at the table?” Will he not rather say to him, “Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink?” Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, “We are unworthy servants, we have only done what is our duty.” Luke 17:7-10

The worst thing about being a servant is that there is no dignity to it. It’s like you are a piece of property merely to be used and then disregarded. If for any reason, the master is not pleased with your service, he can put you through any amount of emotional and/or physical pain. According to Old Testament law, a master is not suppose to kill his servant.  But, “if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.” Exodus 21:21

Roxanne wrote in her devotional yesterday of the endless hours of a servant. She also wrote that a servant doesn’t get a choice of duties. Regardless of the servant’s gift and abilities, a servant is obligated to do the job that is set before him. 

That’s bad enough. But to have one’s humanity stripped away—I would say it’s unbearable, except for the fact that so much of humanity has born it.

It is not unusual for me to be deep in conversation with somebody in the chapel or the dining hall of the camp where we live, and then to have someone break in as if they hadn’t noticed I was there. A particularly young man did this to me last summer and I decided to ask him, “Didn’t you notice that I was talking to this person?” He looked at me with puzzlement. “Aren’t you part of the camp staff?”   As he understood it, he was at camp to be ministered to and I was merely one of the ministers (in the servant sense of the word).
My wife is a servant par excellent. As her husband, I travel in her wake. That means regardless of place, we are the ones who get all the left-over jobs. So we do a whole lot of cleaning and fixing and consoling. I tend to get possessive of whatever I might be doing.  But if someone else wants to do my job, I bite my tongue and let them take over.

So often, as a married couple enters old age, one spouse cares for the other. This caregiver role is a 24/7 and may involve unpleasant tasks. But what makes it especially tough is when the one being cared for is confused, and lashes out at the caregiver.

One of our favorite preachers said, “You know you’re a servant, when people start treating you like one.”  I hope you admire these senior caregivers as much as I do.

The Lord Jesus is such a good master. He said to His disciples, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends.” That’s the type of servant hood  I can find bearable. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

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