The Biblical View of a Servant

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This post is based upon biblical concepts as communicated by Henry Blackaby in “Experiencing God. ”

Many passages in God’s Word describe Jesus as God’s Servant. What was God’s purpose in sending Jesus from heaven to earth? God wanted to redeem mankind and so Jesus came as God’s servant to accomplish His will (Matt. 20:25-28).

Jesus told us about our relationship to Him. In John 20:21, Jesus said, “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” And so, Jesus has called us to be His servants. But what does it mean to be a “servant?”

The world’s understanding of a servant is that a servant goes to the master and says, “Master, what do you want me to do?” The master tells him and then the servant goes off by himself and does it. That is not the biblical concept of a servant. We cannot take our understanding of biblical truth from the world. We must take our understanding of biblical truth from Scripture.

The biblical view of a servant is more like the potter and the clay:

“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:
‘Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause
you to hear My words.’ Then I went down to the potter’s house,
and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel
that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he
made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter
to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house
of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look,
as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!”

(Jer. 18:1-6)

Now, in this view, the clay has to do two things. First of all, the clay has to be molded. The clay has to be responsive to the potter, so the potter can make any vessel of his choosing. Then the clay has to do a second thing. It has to remain in the potter’s hands.

When the potter has finished making the vessel of his choosing, that vessel has no ability to do anything whatsoever. The vessel is of no use outside of the potter’s hands. And so, it has to remain in the potter’s hands.

That’s a very different view from the world’s view of a servant. When you come to God as a servant, He first wants to mold you and shape you into the vessel of His choosing.

Then He can take your life and put it where He wills and work through it to accomplish His purposes. Just like the cup cannot do anything on its own, you do not have any ability to do anything except to be where He wants you to be.

The servant can do nothing of Kingdom value by himself. Jesus said of Himself, in John 5:19, “The Son can do nothing of Himself.” Jesus said of His followers, in John 15:5, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” Paul said, in 2 Cor. 3:5, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.”

With God working through the servant, that servant can do anything God wants him to do. Isn’t that exciting? But a servant has to be obedient. The servant must do what he is instructed to do, but the servant must always remember who is accomplishing the work.

God is accomplishing His work. If you have been working from the world’s definition of “servant,” then you need to change your approach to serving God by working off the biblical concept of “servant.” You do not get orders from God and then go out and do them by yourself. You relate to God, respond to Him, and adjust your life to Him so that He can do whatever He wants to do through you.