One of my fondest memories of growing up is hanging out with a musical group that came and preformed at our church. It was my first experience with professional musicians. I attended every rehearsal and concert that week. By Wednesday, they asked me to help out the sound guy. I felt like a member of the band.
The other thing I remember about this group was their name – Bondservant. It was taken from Philippians 1:1, “Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus.” As far as I know, only the New American Standard Version uses “bond-servant.” Most versions use “servant” and give a footnote saying that it could also be translated as “slave.”
All of this connects to a pastor’s meeting I was at last week. During the sharing time, one of the pastors told the following story.
He was at a local convenience store trying to purchase something. The line was slow and he was in a hurry. His turn at the check-out counter finally came. As he was checking out, the clerk asked what he did for a living.
“I am a pastor,” he replied
“Well, it can’t be too much work. After all, you’re a slave,” the clerk responded with a grin. As he finished paying for his purchase, the clerk leaned over and whispered, “The work you do is not your work, but it is important work.”
In a culture that emphasizes personal rights, the idea of service to others (slavery) seems archaic and out of step with reality.
In John 13:15, Jesus sets an example to for us. Jesus came to serve us and we are called to serve each other. To be bondservants. To serve without regard to our own needs.
What are the implications for those of us in ministry?