“Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. “ John 13:16
“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.” John 15:15
“For he who is called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 7:22
“And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6
The heir of royalty lives life differently than the servant of royalty. For example, the son of a king eats at the king’s table. The servant serves at the kings table, but eats after the king and in the servant’s quarters. As a result, I think it’s important to ask if we as Christians are servants or sons (technically a gender neutral term for heirs) of God. Also, if we are both servant and son, then what does that look like?
For the sake of brevity, I will just say that we are to act as both heirs and servants. The idea of sonship and serving one another is all throughout the New Testament, and no verse disqualifies the other. I tried to show this buy using verses both in the gospels and epistles about both identities.
A servant is one who works and serves at the command of another. A master says sweep and the servant sweeps the floor, or a master says keep the house clean, so as a result, the servant sweeps. I bring that up to remind us of the explicit and implicit nature of God’s commands. A servant’s desire may not be to obey, but because he or she is a servant they must do. Luke 17:7-10 shows what being a servant is like.
Yet, our king serves us. Christ came to serve and not be served (Matt. 20:28). Christ didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped, but took the form of a servant (Philippians 2:6-7). This is very important. Even today, through the Holy Spirit, He serves us. We think we are special by sacrificing things for God, but in reality our input is the constant retelling of the 5 loaves and 2 fish miracle. Essentially, whatever we put in is exponentially grown by God and used for His purposes and in return to bless us.
Because of this we walk in power. We are heirs to a mighty and powerful king who shares His power with us to accomplish His purposes. Not because He has to, but because He loves to. We don’t walk in fear but with a spirit that cries out Abba father. Abba commonly translated as “daddy” falls short of its true meaning. It does have the meaning of an intimate father, but also of this idea that ‘my dad can beat up your dad’. It’s intimacy with power, and we walk in that power.
As servants, the greatest way we can serve our fellow humans is by sharing Christ with them. Starvation is bearable with Christ. Destitution, depression, fear, absolute confusion with the path of one’s life is completely bearable with Christ. Christians all over the world live in those conditions but still have joy and still worship Christ. We can’t cure the human condition, but we can make it pale in comparison to the glory of God.