Before we answer the basic question posed by this article, we will determine what it means for Christians to be servants.
Webster’s Dictionary defines a servant as person employed to perform services, especially household duties, for another” or “a person devoted to another or to a cause, creed, etc.” Although the Bible does not specifically define the nature of a Christian as a servant, we think the Bible does indicate that being a Christian servant should include the following characteristics:
- God should be the Master (or Lord) of every Christian. This necessitates being obedient to doing what God wants them to do (i.e., having a servant-like attitude toward God). [For a discussion of this characteristic, click on “Can Jesus Christ Be a Person’s Savior but Not Their Lord?”]
- Every Christian should regularly seek to minister to the needs of other people (i.e., having a servant-like attitude toward other people). [For perspective regarding this characteristic, click on “What Is the Responsibility of Christians to Minister to People with Needs?”]
- Each Christian should be humble rather than attempting to exalt themselves. Among the most relevant scriptures that pertain to this characteristic are the three that follow. [Note: When we quote Scripture in this article, we use the wording in the New King James Version of the Bible.]
In Matthew 23:12, Jesus Christ declares, “[W]hoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Likewise, in Luke 18:14b, Jesus Christ asserts, “[E]veryone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
And, 1 Peter 5:6 states, “[H]umble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. . . .”
In light of the aforementioned characteristics that Christians should demonstrate, it is reasonable to conclude that Christians should be servants. Furthermore, Christians should be godly servants. But, what does it mean to be a godly servant?
First, let’s define godly. For purposes of this article, the term godly means “devoted to God” or “devout,” as defined by Webster’s Dictionary. Therefore, a godly servant will seek to honor God and bring glory to Him.
But, what is the basis for believing that Christians should be godly servants? The following are several reasons:
One reason is that Jesus Christ had a servant-like attitude that set an example for His followers (i.e., Christians), as indicted in the following three scriptures:
Acts 3:13a: The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus. . . .
Acts 3:26: God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.
Philippians 2:5-7: Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it]robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
A second reason why Christians should be godly servants is because Jesus Christ wants His followers to demonstrate true spiritual greatness, as indicated by the four scriptures that follow:
Matthew 20:26b-28: [Jesus Christ declared] “[W]hoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Matthew 23:11: [Jesus Christ stated] “[H]e who is greatest among you shall be your servant.”
Mark 9:35: He [Jesus Christ] sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
Mark 10:43b-45: [Jesus Christ asserted] “[W]hoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
A third reason why Christians should be godly servants is that when they graciously serve other people, they can have a positive influence that may motivate such people to become Christians, as implied by the following verse of scripture:
1 Corinthians 9:19: [The Apostle Paul says] For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more. . . .
Summary and Conclusions
The Bible indicates that Christians ought to be obedient to God, seek to minister to the needs of other people, and act humbly, and, therefore, Christians should be akin to servants. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that Christians should be godly servants who aspire to follow the example of Jesus Christ, demonstrate true spiritual greatness, and have a positive influence on other people that may motivate such people to become Christians.