This morning I was impressed to read the 24th chapter of Genesis. It is the account of how Abraham called his servant to him, and made him swear an oath to travel to his own country and bring back a wife for Isaac from his kindred.
It is a beautiful story... one with which we are all familiar. What stands out in this account regarding this servant that was sent? Let us simply look at the part the servant plays in this narrative.
By way of introduction...
Genesis 24:2-4 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
This servant was high ranking, in charge over all of Abraham's household. Yet not one time in the entire narrative, are we told this high ranking servants name. He remains simply... the servant of Abraham.
Doesn't that strike you as significant?
Throughout the Bible there are hundreds of similar narratives, where the names of far less 'key players' are given, yet in this instance we are never told the servants name.
Abraham was one of the most important figures in the history of mankind... "the father of faith," and this individual played a key role in securing the bride of Isaac before Abraham's death. The footnote in the Amplified Bible points out that -
[the characteristics of a model servant of God are pictured here: 1. He is dependable and trustworthy. 2. He is a praying person. 3. He is so in earnest that he refuses to eat before attending to his Master's business. 4. He never speaks his own name but is always speaking about his Master. 5. He gives God all the glory.]
Now look at some of what Jesus said regarding servanthood...
"It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" Matthew 10:25
"And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:" Matthew 20:27
"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant." Matthew 23:11
"Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 24:45-51
In the 25th chapter of Matthew the Lord gives us a parable of the talents given to the servants... from it we can glean that there are profitable and unprofitable servants.
"And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 25:30
"And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all." Mark 9:35
"And whosoever of you will be the chiefest shall be servant of all." Mark 10:44
"And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing." Luke 12:42-43
"And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes." Luke 12:47
"But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." Luke 17:7-10
"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 honor." John 12:26
"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." John 15:20
This is but a sampling of what Jesus said... he gave a number of parables to the people concerning servants, and what it requires to be a 'good' servant.
'Servanthood' does not rank very high on anyone's list these days. It seems that everyone wants to 'rule and reign,' to be in positions of 'power and authority'... but little is heard about these parables Christ taught. There is a good reason they are not spoken of much... they hold no appeal to our flesh.
We respond to being called 'sons of God,' we respond to having 'mansions in heaven,' we respond to those things that lift us up... and make us feel good about ourselves... and important... and blessed. There is nothing about being a servant that feeds our flesh.
Paul comprehended and spoke much about being a servant...
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." Galatians 1:6-12
Are we still catering to our flesh? Do we seek after and rejoice in having our name held up? Or do we recognize that without Christ in us, we are nothing? Are we men-pleasers, or do we seek to be found pleasing in God's sight? Do we understand what Jesus meant when He said in Matthew 23:12 "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
Many in this hour are striving for recognition.
The 'normal,' accepted practice today is to have some man or woman's NAME in big letters, followed by 'ministry.' They would have a hard time meeting Peter's directions to those in leadership positions, let alone meeting Christ's commandments...
"The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." 1 Peter 5:1-4