Servant, Slave or Sovereign
The word servant has two distinct meanings; A) a person who is hired to do household or personal duties such as cleaning and cooking; B) a person who is devoted to or guided by something.
Neither of these meanings have a connotation to having done something for the betterment of another without just compensation. The latter of the two is left somewhat vague as you could be guided by nearly anything.
The first definition is very plain and thus is easily understood. A person seeking a job or work position may very well find themselves at the door of another with more resources to provide some sort of function, some menial some not, to aid in the running of their home, or more likely in today’s society, their business.
The world offers the ability to specialize in a task, function, craft or skill and the opportunity to charge a fee for these services. This process has been around literally since the beginning of time. The Mesopotamian societies used clay tablets to record accounting transaction well before they recorded history or poetry.
More peculiar than being a servant in one or more positions is this: the same person may well me the master of another area of life and in the life of the one that was just their master. Here is an example: My sister has been the maidservant of a doctor and her family cleaning the house on a weekly schedule and receives compensation for doing so; on the other hand my sister owns a tanning salon when the doctor comes to get a tan and relies on her expertise in knowing which bed to use to keep from burning her skin, for which she pays the posted price.
As to the second definition, being guided by something, has a myriad of possibilities. The people we often come into contact with on a daily basis will have a known “something” they are devoted towards, yet all too often they have many more “somethings” they become devoted towards without having granted outright permission.
They can become devoted to civic organizations or social clubs with “positive” or helpful agendas, a church, a particular tradesman (doctor, vet, etc) or a political agenda. Again the doors are wide open for this vague devotion. The level of trust grows over time and pulls us away from similar options as we feel like the y are falling short of either personal attention or quality or the work or attention to detail just doesn’t seem to meet our needs.
There is a fine line between this philosophy and having become a slave to the idealism. Slavery and bondage are always considered to be an immediate condition yet for the masses it is a way of becoming, or conditioning themselves into a deeper servitude.
Not all consider these words exacting yet both hold the secondary definition the same just more powerfully worded: A) someone who is legally owned by another person and is forced to work for that person without pay; B) a person who is strongly influenced and controlled by something.
Digging a little deeper you find these definitions: C) a person held in servitude as the chattel of another; D) one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence; E) a person that is directly responsive to another person or thing.
The slave is at the will of something other than their own decisions and usually contrary to their own needs. The Alcoholic disposition has been called a disease by the medical community, I would say to justify the ability to be compensated through the behavior, yet it is actually the conditioning of ones habits to include a daily dosing of the liquid.
What starts out a servant to the person whether as an antidote to thirst, stress, or an act of celebration can oft times continue in its use and habit forms. The general habit of imbibing due to external forces is then trained to the next generation who also builds habit in alcohol use and eventually slavery to its abuse. Just one of many examples which could include food, folly, sport and a whole host of substitutes.
Slavery and bondage are despised the world over and yet we see millions in this condition. Unwittingly at a young age I accepted the transfer of position and the accompanying change in payroll from hourly to salary. I was used to working 45-60 hours a week already and I was making nearly $24,000 a year. They said they could provide the $24K through a combination of $20K base and a % of the profit margin, and I would only need to fill in the required 45 hours a week.
The servant in me said yes and thus began the conditioning. The store began a massive addition cutting the profit margin while the need for added crew to run the store after the expansion. These new crew members were an added cost prior to the added income and the profit margin slipped further. The training had to be done and only certain people, such as myself, were capable to do so.
Three months into the new agreement I was a slave to the system working nearly 80 hours a week and finishing the year at $21000. The added hours of work added to the laundry needs, took from the sleep and rest needs and created in me the need to remove the additional stress. The perfect recipe was drugs to wake me up and drugs to put me to sleep and many washed down with a drink or two. I jumped when the boss said jump because I was digging a bigger and bigger financial hole as well as a slavery to work and other non-productive measures.
This isn’t solely about alcohol or drugs, it is, about slavery. Slavery to those “things” that separate us from the ability to do the real things needed to live a full Christian life. So many people will quote the “verse of the day” without knowing the story behind it, or something they heard from a TV evangelist and have no idea if it even resides in the Bible. Case in point “money is the root of evil” and they leave out the words [the love of] which precedes it in scripture. My concern, care and love of money being more important than that which can be done with the money removes it from the realm of being a tool to being an idol.
The clear need to have the sovereignty of God placed first and foremost in our hearts and minds poses the perfect opportunity to avoid these pitfalls. God has always wanted to be our King, He was disappointed by the people of Israel when they whined, like little spoiled children, about having a king for themselves from among the peoples of the earth. Nothing has changed in the hearts of mankind.
The writer of the New Testament says “they traded the truth for a lie”; not only was it true in his time, but likewise in the Old Testament and in contemporary times as well. Why would you want ANYTHING as a substitute for perfection? Perfect love, perfect protection, perfect leadership……perfect everything!
Slavery can be seen as a negative existence, servanthood looks like a real pain and nuisance to your own needs, yet when these are placed in the Sovereignty of God Almighty; bondage become benevolence, groans become Grace and the meticulous becomes Magnificent!