Treasured Master – Learning Why It’s Important Be Humble
By Steph Nickel
What does it mean to be one of God’s Servants? And why is it important for us to be humble? Steph takes a look at several passages of scripture.
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Jesus is Master
But masters have slaves. Who are Jesus’s slaves? This was the topic of my pastor’s sermon recently.
Our church has a new mission statement. Our church is a BEcoming church. We are BEcoming believers. We are BEcoming disciples. We are BEcoming servants (or slaves). We are BEcoming leaders. We are BEcoming like Christ.
As many of you likely know, the Greek word that has been translated servant, bondservant, and slave is doulos. It’s important to know that, to the original audience of the New Testament, this word was understood to mean slave.
Although slaves were purchased and, therefore, owned by their master, the 1st century church had a different understanding of the word. And, in fact, many slaves at that time were better off than their “free” contemporaries.
Yes, these men and women were owned, but, for the most part, it didn’t conjure up the same images in people’s minds as it does today.
We Are Our Master’s Friends
And, unlike human slave owners, even in the 1st century, our Lord, our Master, calls us His friends.
John 15:15 says, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (ESV).
However, as our pastor pointed out, back only one verse, in John 15:14, Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (ESV).
You may remember the series of devotionals I wrote for HopeStreamRadio to which I gave the title “If You Love Me.” That series was based on John 14:15, which says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
As Christians, our friendship with God is amazing and should fill us with wonder and joy. It does not, however, make obedience optional. He is still our Master and we are still His slaves.
Learn To Be Humble
It’s human nature to bristle at that idea, to shy away from it. However, the Lord places a high value on humility.
The word humble is used 15 times in the New Testament.
James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (ESV).
Matthew 18:4 says, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (ESV).
Luke 14:11 says, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (ESV).
Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (ESV).
If we don’t humble ourselves, we will have no desire to “outdo one another in showing honor.” And we will have no desire to follow Jesus’s example at the Last Supper. The One who has the name above every name (Philippians 2:9), the One through and for whom everything was made (John 1:3), removed His outer garments and proceeded to wash His disciples’ feet.
They expected Him to overthrow the Roman oppressors. They expected Him to establish an earthly kingdom. They vied for top positions in this anticipated government. And when He would hang dying on the cross, they would abandon Him. He knew all this, and yet, He humbled Himself and did the job of the lowliest of all servants.
We Are Called To Obedience
Our Lord and our Master set the perfect example. And even more awe-inspiring and humbling, He then proceeded to die a horrible death in order to pay the price for our sins.
He rose on the third day and is now seated at the Father’s right hand. He invites us to become His friends—and His slaves.
Considering all He has done for us, more than we can truly understand this side of heaven, He has every right to refer to us as slaves.
We are called to obedience, but rest assured, He is the kindest, most loving, most patient Master we will ever have.
Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books.
Steph is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and The Word Guild. She and her husband of over 30 years live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Steph’s goal is to nurture and inspire. She blogs at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests. She also guest posts regularly on the topics of Christian living, writing, and fitness. You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
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