“And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ” (Luke 17:7-9).
A parable of service! We find mentioned in the Bible two types of servants: hired servants and bond servants. Hired servants receive wages and have certain rights. Bond servants (actually slaves) receive no wages and have no rights. Jesus was a bond servant, emptying Himself and taking upon Him the form of a servant. He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death (Philippians 2:7-8). That alone should be reason enough for us Christians to put our aprons on and start serving!
If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be; if any man serve Me, him will my Father honour (John 12:26).
What a wonderful promise—a promise of His presence and a promise of honor from the Father! We have only two needs –a need to be emptied of self and a need to be filled with the desire to do God’s will.
“This bond servant was willing for one thing after another to be placed upon him and willing not even to be thanked for it.”
While reading Luke 1:7-10, I began to check up on the attitude of my heart. Am I wearing my apron, ready to serve? How am I serving the Lord? With what kind of attitude am I serving? In Luke 17 we do not read about coffee breaks or marches for equal rights. We don’t even hear the servant say, “Let George do it.” The servant comes in from the field and before he even has a drink of cold water, he prepares a meal for his master. On top of all that, no one tells him, “Thank you.” No one says they appreciate it or that he is the best servant in the world. I suppose by verse ten, many of us might be over-heard in the kitchen saying something like, “I have been working out there in that hot dirty field and with those animals all day. I am hot, I am tired, I am hungry and I am thirsty. Who does he think he is? Doesn’t he realize I’m the most valuable servant for miles around? Tomorrow I will come in late to make up for the time I am working today.”
Yes, that conversation might be heard from a hired servant. But Luke is talking about a bond servant. This bond servant was willing for one thing after another to be placed upon him and willing not even to be thanked for it. It would seem that the master in Luke 17 was rather selfish and inconsiderate in his demand, but we find no record of the servant’s accusation. So as Christ’s bond servants, unprofitable servants, unworthy slaves, such as we are, we should do all the things which we are commanded to do.
But by love serve one another (Galatians 5:13).
Put on your apron and serve. Jesus girded Himself with a towel and washed the disciples’ feet. May we gird ourselves with those things at our disposal: a cup of cold water, flowers, a telephone call, a gospel tract, pen and paper, cookies, a listening ear or a private prayer. Let’s do that which is our duty to do with whatever God places in our hands.
Then, if you will listen very carefully, I believe you will hear your heart beating, “OTHERS, OTHERS, OTHERS!”
Let’s serve without murmuring and complaining. That would be acting as though we have rights. Bond servants don’t have rights.
Some day when we see Him face to face we shall hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matthew 25:21)
The Lord has shown us from His Word that when we serve others we are serving Him.
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Than shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the king shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me (Matthew 25:35-40).
But in all of this we must “beware of the barrenness of a busy life.” We must not only be a serving Martha, but a silent Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing His Word—His words of instruction, comfort and love. Take time to fellowship with Jesus. He tells us in Luke 10:42 that this is needful and will not be taken away from us. And remember: Without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).
Every day, may we go forth to serve the Lord with gladness, wearing an apron, ready to serve. Let us not forget to tuck in a “dab” of laughter and pockets full of love and compassion.
Don’t take your apron off yet!
Written by Janet Hall. This article was published in the Summer 2017 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine. To contact Janet, leave us a comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Facebook.
Other Verses about Service:
Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (I Corinthians 15:58).
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).
Do all things without murmurings and disputing (Philippians 2:14).