Who is the Servant of the Lord?

by Pastor Daryl Largis

Have you ever asked yourself the following question: Who is a servant of the Lord? We might be persuaded to say that it is a person working fulltime in ministry in a local church in some capacity. Surely, they would be a servant of the Lord, if anybody was such a person. We may even venture beyond these shores and say that a servant of the Lord is one who is working on behalf of the church in some foreign land. Perhaps we may recall those who lived long ago and quickly surmise that they, especially if they are mentioned in Scripture, are servants of the Lord.  Each of these answers is likely correct but would also be incomplete in and of itself. On the contrary, not everyone who serves the Lord is a servant of the Lord. Let me say that again, not everyone who serves the Lord is a servant of the Lord. If we are not careful, we can become convinced that doing something for the Lord so to speak, is all that is necessary and required to be deemed a servant of the Lord thereby fulfilling the duties thereof and all is good.  Being a true servant of the Lord is much, much more than merely serving the Lord. Please, don’t misunderstand—we are to serve the Lord in many ways but there is more to it than just doing this or doing that.

As for you and me, if we have been redeemed by Christ and therefore taken from the Kingdom of Darkness to the Kingdom of Light, we have become a new person with a new hope and a new eternity. We are expected to be servants of God for it is of His Kingdom we are now citizens. It then behooves us to understand what a servant of the Lord looks like as in who are they and then what does a servant of the Lord do. The Apostles Paul and Peter routinely described themselves as servants of the Lord. Furthermore, they encouraged the redeemed to become such as they. This had deep meaning then and has deep meaning now not only to how they viewed being a servant for the Lord but also the ramifications for you and me.

As was mentioned earlier, anyone can serve the Lord or at least in their mind think they are, and in doing so, think they can somehow gain favor with God while appeasing an obligation they feel they have, but fail to consider whether they are obediently following Him. The first king of Israel, Saul, fell into this faulty thinking. We, too, if not careful can fall into the same kind of thinking in terms of attending church, giving, and even serving once in a while. These are all good but in and of themselves are not fully what God desires.

1 Samuel 15:22 tells us, “But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.’” 

God desires us to be obedient to His calling, to His Word, and to His Spirit. Why? God has redeemed you and me unto Himself and as a result we are to lovingly obey Him as we willingly and obediently allow Him to guide, shape, and use us for His glory on His terms, not on our own. We are not our own—we are His and His alone.

Being a servant of the Lord comes with it a foundation of obedience in that all servants of the Lord are obedient to Him.  In addition to being obedient, the Apostle Paul describes to Timothy what a servant of the Lord looks like as in who they are and what they do.

A servant of the Lord pursues righteousness, faith, love, and peace. Can that be said of us, that these are the things we are pursuing each and every day? Does your, does my, vision for the future have embedded in it a desire, a pursuit if you will, of righteousness, faith, love, and peace?  It should. These should be our aim as we grow and mature in our journey following Christ. Here is what Paul said to Timothy along these lines:

“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace” (2 Timothy 2:22a).

Paul goes on to describe a servant of Lord in more detail as in who they are:

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach and not resentful” (2 Timothy 2:24).  

Even though Paul was talking to Timothy, these passages apply to us as redeemed followers of Christ, in that we too, are servants of the Lord. Paul was saying, a servant of the Lord:

1) does not quarrel,

2) is kind to all,

3) is able to teach,

4) and is willing to suffer wrong.

So, in these terms, is this you?  Is this me?  A servant of the Lord does not engage in quarrels, that is, emotional and angry disputes with others to get our own way.  A servant of Lord is kind to all people, not just those we like. We are to be kind to everyone especially those who might be in opposition to us for whatever reason. Simply stated, we are called to be kind.  Thirdly, a servant of the Lord must be able to teach which implies we have something to say. This in turn demands we understand and are able to correctly handle the Word of God. A servant of Lord then is able to help others understand God’s Word, and therefore a servant of God must be in His Word and growing in their understanding and knowledge of it. Lastly, a servant of the Lord must be willing to suffer wrong. This is hard!  Am I, are you, willing to suffer wrong for the sake of the gospel?  A servant of the Lord is willing to do so and not be resentful.

In summary, a servant of Lord is much more than merely serving the Lord. A servant of the Lord is one who is obedient to God, and they pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. They do not quarrel and are kind to everyone. They are able to teach and are willing to suffer wrong. When all of these things are in play, a servant of the Lord then serves the Lord and does so with joy bringing glory to God.  Interesting, that this picture of a servant sounds much like someone with whom we are familiar—Jesus. I think that’s the point.  We, as servants of the Lord, are to look like and become more and more like Jesus, for He was and is the ultimate and perfect servant of God.