Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Servant or slave which is it?

Get ready to be shocked, then gasp, then speechless (you just might want to sit down for this one). I am currently reading my SECOND book in three months! Seriously, can someone hand me a cookie, because this never happens. I think I can count on my fingers, and my toes... OK just my fingers, how many books I have read in my life. Most people can say they read for relaxation or fun, I can say I usually only read out of obligation when I was in school. BUT these past few months I have been reading.

My first pick was a book I got about a year or two ago on a random Lifeway trip.(Do you ever have those random Lifeway trips when you are feeling real "spiritual" and buy like 5 books that relate to your life, but don't read them for another 2 years?) It is by Nancy Leigh DeMoss: "Becoming God's True Woman". It was a collection of chapters about biblical femininity and becoming a woman of God by various Christian authors, mostly woman. It was an awesome book and seriously convicting in many areas of my life. Definitely a must read.

My second book I am still currently reading through, is also by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and it is "Surrender". Challenging women, and men, to give up control of our lives and let God take it all. She talks about how a lot of times we will tell God, OK here is our contract I will agree to sign and surrender to you if you do X, Y, and Z and in return I will do A, B and C, folks that aint' the deal. We should sign a blank contract and say, "God here I am, here's my signature on this blank contract take it and fill it in with what you desire for me." Let me just lay it on the line right now, while I was reading this I felt my nerves rise. Who wants to sign a blank contract and say, "God take it and do what you will, you have proven so many times that everything you do does not make me uncomfortable AT ALL!" Yeah right! God could make me leave the comfort of being, well, comfortable to go do something thats not so squishy, comfy, lollipops, and care bears.

I am a picture thinker, so says my sister in law Kathryn :o). Basically, I tend comprehend things a TON better when its in a picture form. (Note to self: Make a Bible for adults with pictures...) I am the person sitting in front of you at church that's drawing a picture of a big fish, while the pastor is preaching on Jonah. Believe it or not I am learning, not bored. Anyways, in the book she points out that there is sort of a "mis-interpretation" (stay with me now) of the word servant in the Bible, in some passages. Not all I assume; I have not taken the many spare hours I have, yeah right, and looked them up. But here goes my interpretation of her misinterpretation.

Josef Tson says (quoted from "Surrender"), "In the Greek Bible one never, never diakoneo to God- one never serves God; one only douleo  to God- that is, one slaves to God." Mr. Tson also says, "Translators did not like the term, 'bondslave' to be applied to people. Who wants to be somebody else's slave? Therefore they replaced it with 'servant'."

I decided hmmm that seems kinda harsh to accuse the translators of not liking the word "bondservant" or "slave" so they replaced it, so I asked my trusty Biblical encycolopedia: my husband. Who looked up on some website, I don't remember which one I was rambling on about my findings. To which he confirmed Mr. Tson was indeed correct. If you look a little more closely into a few passages of scripture you will see what he was talking about. One I thought of and "tested" his theory to, was Luke 1:38: "'I am the Lords servant. Mary answered'", servant (diakonos) is actually not the Greek Bible's translation of the word. It is actually slave (doulos).

"So what? What is SO important about two words, they pretty much mean the same thing right?" Wrong! They are two greatly different words. Servant, according to Webster, is "a person employed to perform services for another"; while slave is, "a human being who is owned as property by and is absolutely subject to the will of another." Ya'll that is straight out of Webster, no butter added there (get it Paula Deen? Butter? Guess you just have to be me). See the difference? In Exodus 21:1-2 and 5-6 it describes the rules when you buy a Hebrew slave:

 The slave is to serve for 6 years and in the 7th he is set free. Unless he says, "I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free." (Exodus 21) At that point in time his master brings him to the Lord and at the masters door post he bears a hole through the slaves ear, showing that he will be a slave to that master forever!

(Here comes my picture thinking) If I am really a slave to God, not just a servant, who simply does a task and when its done I am no longer employed or under obligation. Where there is no ownership over my body and life, that makes me property of God's. He owns me. If I am really a slave of God, I will go to the door post and bear a hole through my ear (OK not literally). What a painful way to show your complete surrender of your life to someone. Lest we not forget, there was no ice to num your ears, or antibacterial wipes to make sure the area was clean, or anything to relieve that pain in that time. Just an awl (a pointed hand tool with a fluted blade used for piercing wood, leather, etc. I guess etc. included ears). Giving up my desires, goals, energy time, money, and comfort is not easy. Fully surrendering to God's absolute will for me, is not without some sort of sacrifice or pain.

Don't be mistaken though, it is clear to point out in Exodus that the slave is free unless HE says, "I love my master...." He willingly gives up his freedom because he loves his master, beacuse he knows his master is good to him. Now, I am sure there were occasions where the slave really had no other choice but to go back to his master, but scripture clearly says that the slave has to say, "I love my master." This made me think: "Jenny, do you really love your Master enough to surrender your life fully to him? To go to His door post and publicly profess that you am now a SLAVE, not servant, a SLAVE to God and trusted that your Master will take care and provide for your every need? Knowing, it will come at the cost of your freedom, goals, and desires? That you will have to work hard for your Master, because that is your task as His slave, to obey Him?" Geeze Louise. Can you say convicted? Convicted.

There is a eency weency part that is hugely significant in this relationship though, I can know I will always be provided for, always loved and always taken care of. The needs of me as slave are met, in return for full surrender of my life and obedience to God's will. It's not all pain and sacrifice. It's freedom to live in knowing I am accounted for by God. He owns me, and everything He has created and owns is good. He makes all things good.

Heavy stuff ya'll. Heavy stuff. When I think of myself as a slave to God, it puts my life and my faith in a whole other ball game. While serving does go into play, it's more. Its about giving God ownership of what is rightly His. Me

(I am sitting here thinking toodles is so peppy.... I will just put in parenthesis and you can whisper toodles in your head... Toodles.)

PS: Some of this is my two cents but most of it is from the book, "Surrender" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She has like 90 cents worth in this post :o)


Stephanie Cunningham said...

Not to take away from the seriousness of your post...but I laughed out loud at the "Have you ever gone to lifeway..." and "Note to self: make adult picture bible." I enjoyed your comic relief ;]

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