Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kingship and Servanthood

Years ago I realized that I really don't know what it means to see God as my King, my Lord. I haven't lived under a monarch, and even those in England don't understand the kind of monarchy of the Bible. To be truly ruled, to be under someone's extreme authority.

Here in modern day America, we can't grasp this. Our president, while called the most powerful man in the western world is really not that powerful. The executive branch is limited by many checks and balances. The legislative body, Congress, is actually more powerful... but that power is divided hundreds of times so no one senator or congressman is all that powerful. Our government is designed this way. I think it's a good way, since it helps give no one man absolute power, since it does corrupt. But we have no idea what it'd be like to have a king or lord with absolute power over our lives. The Biblical Christians indeed understood this. And the idea of a good, perfect king was a wonderful thing. I know many Christians nowadays who see monarchy of any form to be a horror.

It's not that I don't understand in a mental way.  It's that I don't get it firsthand. I am blessed with a dad, so I understand God as a Father (though a perfect Father, which no one's earthly dad is).  I haven't had sheep, but I have had goats, which brought alive some imagery.  I understand Friendship. But I just don't have any firsthand knowledge to apply to the concept of true King or Lordship.

Today I realized just as I don't really grasp true sovereignty, I also don't grasp true Biblical servitude. Take for example:

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” Luke 17:7-10

That blows my mind as a verse. I mean, not only because it is so hard to live out.  I mean, how many of us live that out? If we do something for someone, we expect to be thanks, and if not we're indignant or resentful. If we have been working hard all day long, we don't expect to have to cook and serve food before we get a break.  Our society is just not set up that way.  Some of us may live that, but we don't think it's right.  We at least expect thanks.

And when I'm being served this blows my mind too. I always say thank you when a "server" delivers my plate at a restaurant.  Always. If I didn't, I'd feel ridiculously rude and guilty.  But here the passage is saying, why in the world thank a servant for doing his job?  Jesus proposes it like it's total common sense to the disciples that you wouldn't thank a servant.

And, after painting this humble (and demeaning to my American sensibilities) portrait of a servant, Jesus makes it abundantly clear He sees Himself in this role when he gets down and washes the disciples feet.

I am God's servant. And in many ways, the task He's given me is to serve my fellow man.  I tell you, I do not live up the verse above. I do not take well to being told "here, do this" after I just slaved away all day. I do not take well to not getting thanked when I've done something for others. I do harbor resentment if I feel slighted. I don't say "I am an unworthy servant who has done her duty"... unless maybe in sarcasm.

And you know why? Because the flesh or Self or the sinful nature, whatever you want to call it, doesn't like to be humbled. And I'm not doing a good job of crucifying it daily.

So I'm realizing how horrible I am at this. And I am saying, to God and confessing to you, that I want to repent of this. And I'm asking God to teach me about servanthood, so I can really understand it.

Because I just really don't.

Beholding Glory

1 comment:

  1. Great verse and you make some great points about being a servant and knowing Him as sovereign King.


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