In our last Philippians post we ended by discussing how Paul, one of the greatest apostles and evangelists that ever lived, identified himself as a BONDSERVANT of Jesus Christ. We are going to continue exploring this term in the context of the FAMILY...
This is what I want to consider with you today, as we focus ON THE FAMILY. THE FAMILY as we will consider it throughout our study, will be seen to include not only parents and children, not only people to whom we are related through blood-lines, but the much larger family to which we have been called. Our church families, the family of God, that includes every tribe and tongue and nation, the family of man - that includes unbelievers, those who have not heard the gospel, those we are called to minister to.
Now, within the family, HOW DO YOU PERCEIVE YOUR ROLE? Who are you? What are you? What do you aspire to be?
These are important questions; for as a woman, we serve within our immediate family unit, as well as within the larger family circle, as the hub of the wheel. Families revolve around their women. Women often set the tone in their homes.
The way in which you see your role - the way in which you to choose to play it out - determines whether that role is frustrated or fulfilled. The role you play will largely determine a lifestyle that will be passed on to future generations.
Let me give you an illustration of what I am talking about.
My mother had friends who had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. All who knew them spoke of how the wife had worn her poor husband out, as all through the years he had waited on her hand and foot.
It seemed that all of her life she pictured herself as one to be served, as one to be waited on and cared for, as one to be looked after. The way she perceived her role in life determined the way her husband and children related to her, and strongly influenced the subsequent roles her children assumed as adults.
Take a moment to look back. How did your mother and grandmothers define their roles? How has that influenced you? What role do you now play in your family?
Grab a pen and paper and write down very briefly what you think it means to be a Bondservant of Jesus Christ. Then we are going to the Bible to let the Scriptures define that role for us.
First, we must understand that as bondservants of Jesus we are called to distinct and different ministries. Many of us have been called to minister at home or in the office. Some have been called to the mission field. But whatever our calling as Bondservants, the qualifications must remain constant. They do not change.
Take a moment to look at Luke1:74-75. We find Zacharias speaking in these passages. You recall that Zacharias was the father of John the Baptist. The angel Gabriel appeared to him to announce that he was to have a son. Zacharias did not believe the angel, and was struck dumb until the birth of John. In Luke 1, we find the first words he spoke after his speech returned. There are some profound words here on servanthood.
Picking up at verse 67, we read, "And John's father, Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, 'Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and redeemed his people.'"
Verse 74 tells us, "He has redeemed His people to enable us to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days." Notice that HE enables us to serve Him.
What does that mean?
It means that becoming a Bondservant to Jesus Christ is not my gift to God. It is His gift to me, for He places His hand on my life in a unique way. I am set apart for His SERVICE. Through the gift of His Son, He gives me a servant's heart - Holy, free of defilement; and He makes it possible for me to serve Him in righteousness, in accoradance with God's everlasting principles of right.
Let's make this practical. You may pray this in your heart, "Lord, how would YOU have me serve You this day? What would YOU have me do? In serving my spouse, my children, my employer, my church, the world. I want to serve You."
We all need to understand that it is possible to work FOR God without SERVING Him. We can work FOR Him, picking and choosing the assignments; however, when we SERVE Him, we do whatever He calls us to do.
I believe Ruth Calkins illustrated this well when she wrote:
"You Know, Lord, how I serve You -
With great emotional fervor
In the limelight.
You know how eagerly I speak for You
At a women's club.
You know how I effervesce when I promote
A fellowship group.
You know my genuine enthusiasm
At a Bible study.
But how would I react, I wonder,
If you pointed to a basin of water
And asked me to wash the calloused feet
Of a beat and wrinkled old woman
Day after day
Month after month
In a room where nobody saw
And nobody knew."
THAT IS SERVING GOD, with divine consecration, in holiness and in righteousness.