Bondservants

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For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. 2 Corinthians 5:14,15

In days gone by the Christians used to say, “Saved to serve.” Everybody had a sense of responsibility to witness, encourage, or do what was necessary to be the Lord’s extended hand. It was their way to respond to His love that they themselves received.

Once the Jesus-kind of life took root in your life, it is up to you to grow it to fruitfulness. The Christian leads a life of active service, just as Jesus came to serve. He served the Father by doing the work that He was given to do, and that included reaching out to the needy in various ways. You do what you have to do to touch lives with the Father’s love.

Jesus spent most of His time on earth teaching, helping people to straighten out their crooked ways that lead to bondage. Others needed protection, like the woman caught in adultery, and religious zealots almost killed her. Jesus said we would always have the poor among us, and that they need to be taken care of. There are also the sick who are looking for someone to lay hands on them and pray a prayer of faith over them. The downtrodden needs encouragement. New disciples must be mentored. The list goes on and on. You have the gifts, talents and skills that others are praying for!

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. John 17:4

It is up to us now to continue with the work that Jesus started. The Bible doesn’t say that His works came to an end after He went back to the Father, or when the first apostles died. No, the world is as needy now as it was then, if not more so. The baton is in our hands; we have some laps to run and a race to win before time runs out on us. With His Word living in our hearts we can do what He did!

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:7,8

Jesus glorified the Father by doing what He told Him to do. Remember His words when He passed the mantle of His ministry to us:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14

This brings us to the question of bondservants. A bondservant is someone who chooses to serve his master voluntarily, because he loves him.

But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever. Exodus 21:1-6

Quite a ritual – one that left a scar as a reminder of his devotion to his master! The practice of bondservanthood continued on to the New Testament, and, although we don’t hear much about it anymore, it is still how we ought to serve Him today. It is a matter of walking in His kind of love.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:5-7

“Let this mind be in you;” is our pattern for service. If the Master was a bondservant, so must His disciples be. This is a big statement, but devotion is the only way to serve the King of kings. Bondservants – like all servants – don’t care about their reputation, they just want to see the job done. And they don’t have choices, except to be obedient to the Master’s bidding. It is a life of sacrifice where one’s faith might undergo some tough testing to determine the level of obedience.

Jesus the Bondservant knew what it was to have His obedience tested. Since He declared that He only said or did what He received from the Father, (John 14:10 & John 5:19) we know that He always acted in obedience to Him. He was severely tested when He had to spit in the blind man’s eye (Mark 11:23) in order to heal him, and risked His life by the many healings that He did on Sabbath days. He was almost always in danger, yet He obeyed, even when He prayed for a way out:

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39

Jesus knew very well what the will of the Father was, but the prospect of drinking that cup was too hard to bear while living in a body of flesh. Obedience is only genuine when you do what you don’t want to do. Paul, from whose hand we received two-thirds of the New Testament, was a bondservant too:

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Bondservants don’t work for earthly rewards, fame, recognition, appreciation or adoration – their honour is to obey their master. How many bondservants do you know? Could this be the reason why we don’t see so many miracles anymore? Great miracles require great obedience!

There is also the matter of reputation that is so highly prized, especially among us Christians. Jesus, the perfect Bondservant, made Himself of no reputation so that He could reach the lowest outcast. It qualified Him to speak to the woman at the well, (John 4) while it was not socially acceptable to do so. She even asked Him about it:

Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. John 4:9

That is also why He could touch lepers, turn over the tables in the temple, and eat with sinners and tax collectors. A person with a good reputation doesn’t do things like that.

Paul, the greatest of all the apostles, called himself a bondservant; so did Peter, James and Jude. Epaphras was not an apostle, but Paul saw the heart of a bondservant in him too:

Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Colossians 4:2

Jesus is hiring. He is looking for bondservants who will seek the kingdom of God above all things. He is looking for those clothed in His righteousness to enlist. He promises to take care of their needs. The best of all is that you can serve Him while you go about your daily life: He needs you at home, your place of work – wherever you find yourself. Most of the work that needs to be done is outside the church anyway. Jesus dined with women with bad reputations, sinners, and tax collectors because bondservants don’t mind getting their hands dirty.

Your light is shining brighter now that the world is getting darker. You are being noticed because of the hope that is in you. Make that call, send an email, invite that person that is on your heart for coffee. Pray. The work of prayer can be done wherever you are. Learn from Epaphras, and be an intercessor with knowledge and understanding of God’s will. There is work to be done!

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