God’s Will & Our Assignments: Servants Aren’t Celebrities

These days I often hear “It’s not about me; it’s about him.” It’s still a popular, over-used, even if well-meaning, Christian slogan. It has become cliche. But recently, this cliche has burrowed into my soul. As I considered my desires about where I want to end up, I had this thought, “If I am to be a servant, then I must do the master’s bidding, not my own.” God’s will, his cosmic plan, isn’t all about me. It’s about him and his kingdom. It’s about us and all of creation. We can verbally assent to the idea, we do all the time, but do we know what it means?

God has many things in mind as he brings forth his kingdom. He is redeeming all things. I am included in his kingdom coming, in his redemption. I am a beloved daughter. As I obey him, his life-giving waters flow through me into the lives of others. But his kingdom coming and my definition of personal, even kingdom success, are not always the same. Nor are they always at odds.

God isn’t careless towards me or about me and my desires. He often blesses me by granting my requests. However, sometimes he and I might interpret blessing differently; sometimes he’ll bless me differently than I’d bless myself if I were he because I am not. And who is wiser? Me or him? I am a small, yet intrical and infinitely loved part, of his family, of his kindgom, of his living story.

Of course, I have my own ideas about the part I want to play in God’s story. But he’s the author. My job is to serve him–to obey the assignments or part he gives me, even if it is a bit part. I am to be a his faithful servant and the servant of all. I can’t wander off and do my own thing. I can’t rewrite or edit the story. If I try, not only is it is to my own detriment and destruction–it is destructive to my brothers and sisters, to the kingdom.

And the thing is, I can barely conceive of the grand scheme of things–the story. I just can’t imagine it. Oh yes, scripture tells us how it will end. It gives us some of the cosmic highlights. However, scripture doesn’t give us a detailed description of how God’s will, his story, will unfold in our lives.

Are we content at playing the minor roles? Will we be faithful to what we are called to do when life doesn’t pan out the way we think it should? Or will we throw in the servant’s towel, exchanging it for mastery of our own lives?

Servants are often overlooked, invisible, underappreciated, and mistreated. They are to work hard for the master’s will, not their own. They are to respect the master and not talk back. They’re obscure.

Servants aren’t celebrities.

God’s great reversal is this: whoever is greatest in the kingdom of heaven will be the servant of all–not a servant of herself or himself.


the last shall be first.

Originally, posted 2.2.11

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