The holiness of servitude
The word servant has long been used in Christian spiritual teaching to describe Christ’s attitude to us and to portray the way Christ taught us to be towards others. Now the word is becoming popular in business circles as we talk about “servant leadership” and “servant mindset.” Holy Scripture is steeped in the message: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10 Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galations 5:13-14 And whoever would be first among you must be servant of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10: 44-45 The greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23: 11
It finds its way into other religions too
At the heart of Buddhism are Karma, Compassion, Cooperation, and Bodhisttva (spirit of helping others). “Hinduism preaches serving both God and humanity, as one begets the other. Seva is a Sanskrit word that means more than just service or to serve. It means to serve without the existence of one’s own identity – to serve selflessly.” (http://www.baps.org/Spiritual-Living/Hindu-Beliefs/Service—Seva.aspx) From the Quran (Koran) we read, “O people of Islam, ‘You are the best people ever raised for the good of mankind because you have been raised to serve others; you enjoin what is good and forbid evil and believe in Allah.'” (3:111)
What does it mean to serve others?
I was reading the Caring Bridge journal entry for my young cousin Carlyle Dorroh (who shared her reflections here at Heartspoken after she was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer). She is too ill now to write her own entry, so her friend Angie is sharing updates. Angie spoke about the mobilization of help for Carlyle’s family. She quoted a verse from “The Servant Song” by Richard Gillard: “I will weep when you are weeping
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through.” The words moved me greatly, but I wasn’t familiar with the song, so I looked it up to find the rest of the lyrics. Here they are in a beautiful rendition by the Maranatha! Promise Band. As the profound simplicity of its message seeped into my heart, I found myself weeping with a mixture of sadness and gratitude as I considered those who, throughout my life, have wept with me and laughed with me—and also those who, like my cousin, are relying on many to serve her and her family by standing by them as they face such daunting trials. My friend Pat has just lost her 56-year-old husband and will need loved ones to travel with her in the days ahead. There are so many opportunities to serve.
Singing The Servant Song
The Servant Song is one we must sing if we are to be true to our call to be a servant to others. There will be many, many ways to sing it, but it will often be sung through tears. I pray fervently that I will always answer the call, both to serve and to let others serve me when the time is right. I’ve included links below for buying the song alone or the whole album.