The pervasive mind-set

‘Servants are not greater than their master.’

The very word servant is to serve. To be subservient. To be directed by and accountable to. To make your master’s life more comfortable. To do the menial stuff they don’t. Servants are merely a small hop – and contractual clause or two – away from slavery.

Servants and masters get a lot of column inches in the bible. And mostly we struggle with that.  We come up with loads of “interpretation” – but still the words used are “master and “servant”:

Jesus said to his disciples, “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world–therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. John 15:18-21

And …

Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. John 13:16

So just how does “relationship” without putting God Soft Hands Jesus on a pedestal (nor me “down here looking up”) actually “work”? And is that an impossible relationship to even contemplate? Is God Jesus so divine, so holy, so perfect, so “sinless”, so much better than I can ever be – that we HAVE to put Him on a pedestal, that we HAVE to look up from our sin and squalor, and that we MUST worship Him from the prostrate position?

Or else why do we ALWAYS close our eyes and look DOWN when we pray? Why did we used to KNEEL? Why do we still kneel? And why do we chant those “and when I say … you then say … “ responses together? Is that “the more sound we make the more chance there is of God hearing”? And why do we need to “attract His attention” if He knows every hair on my head (without me saying one word)?

‘Servants are not greater than their master.’

We never seem to focus on what Jesus did NOT say.  And if we never do that – how can we ever know what Jesus IS saying then and now?  Because it seems to me, reading this passage with GSHJ this morning, that Jesus is very clear.  So without further ado, here is The Man Himself … over to you dearest God Soft Hands Jesus –

Thank you Paul, I hope you haven’t “switched off” more than you “invite”!  Anyway …

No matter how much you each live your life as you see me live mine, no matter how much you each study my word, no matter the sacrifice, the miracles, the healing, the good works AND faith … no matter the number you “save” (whatever that means) … no matter what others think of you … NONE of that matters. Because you will never be “greater” than anyone else – ever. Got that?  Good.

Now let’s focus on what you will be …

You will be equal to me. You will be in me and I in you. You will NOT need to look up, because you WILL look me in the eyes, and you WILL breathe my breath, and you WILL know my very thoughts and I yours, and you WILL be able to move mountains, heal the sick, cast out demons. You WILL know what to say when you speak in my name because I live in you and you in me. And you can trust the Father as I trust the Father. You can rest in me as I rest in you. And you will NEVER EVER have to prostrate yourself in my presence (and when you do – all I notice is the bald patch and grey hairs on the top of your head – it is quite distracting). But YOU will notice how hard the ground is, how uncomfortable that position is, how demeaning the approach is …

And if “sacrifice” and “burden” and all that “stuff” rocks your boat – I will still love you.  However, I would prefer something a little more “elegant”.  Read my lips … 

You are never “subservient” – just as you are never “greater”.  And if you do not “get” that, consider this …

Might that be because “hierarchy” and “pecking order” is the only way you can function – because you need to know where you are – to know who is above you – who is below you – to KNOW who is challenging for “your spot” right now – to KNOW if you are moving up or down the ladder?  Because if you do and you are …

THAT IS “being greater” (than someone else) – AND THAT IS ALSO someone else being greater than you.  And THAT IS the mind-set – the precise and pervasive mind-set – that I do NOT mean when I said: ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’

Thank you.

Well, thank you for that clarification, GSHJ – any final thought You might share with us this morning?

Just one, Paul, just one …

Please stop being a smart arse on my behalf!  🙂

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