A servant King! That’s astounding enough. But what about a servant God? The word God does not usually conjure up ideas of servanthood, but rather images of power and control – someone who is being served by others. Isn’t God almighty? Isn’t He in control? We use expressions like ‘playing God’ to refer to people trying to take a superior and powerful position. But if we accept that Jesus presented himself as the servant King, it follows that the One whom he represents also has the attitude of a servant, rather than the attitude of a despot or tyrant. As the Suffering Servant who gave himself for humanity, Jesus gives an insight, not only into his role as Messiah, but into the basic nature of God. God’s relationship with creation, including with you and with me, is one of service. So, the call to serve God comes to us against the background of God’s service to us, just like the command to love God comes against the background of God’s love for us. God’s service for us is an expression of God’s generous love. Words like glory and majesty, almighty and victorious, are appropriate for us to use of God, but not in the common, worldly way of speaking. As Jesus revolutionized the idea of king, so he changes our understanding of God. God is not a tyrant. The power of God is the power of infinite love, love that creates and restores. When James and John, or for that matter, when you or I hanker for glory and fame for ourselves we need to hear the words, “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant.” That’s where the greatness of God lies, in the divine servanthood. That does not mean that we are to treat God as our servant as so many people try to do. God, do this for me. God, do that for me. What it does mean is that we follow the prompting of God’s Spirit to live lives of humble, love-motivated respect, concern and service for others.
- How comfortable do you feel about the idea of God being a servant?
- If God is a servant, who or what does God serve and how?
- How do people try to use God as their servant?
- What is the difference between having a Christ-like servant attitude and being a weak and servile person who allows themselves to be trampled upon by others?