A Bondservant of Jesus Christ

servant n. ~ a person employed by another, esp. to perform domestic duties.

bondservant n. ~ a person bound to service without wages.

Every time I read in Scripture "servant of Christ Jesus" or something of the like, I used to only have the concept that it meant I was "in His service". But without really considering it, I had been "in His service" most often than not, in order to receive a reward; whether here on earth (like accolades and praise) or in Heaven - our eternal treasures.

But as time passed, I began to cringe at the thought of doing anything in the name of Jesus, for any kind of "reward", even heavenly rewards. To encourage me through difficult trials, people have often said, "Press on Sunny, press on! You know this is for your eternal reward! You'll have treasure in Heaven, far better than any of this and a crown of glory!" Now, I know that they all meant well, but still, inside - I would cringe. I began asking the Lord why I felt this way. I began to ask God why I couldn't receive this encouragement from my brothers and sisters. Was I being prideful? Was I caught in some sin I wasn't aware of? What was it that caused me to cringe every time I heard this?

What was a servant of the Lord to do? What exactly does a servant of the Lord look like and what is a servant of the Lord's mindset?

Then I noticed something in the Bible. Regardless of translations, there is always a footnote whenever the word "servant" is used and the footnote always says, "Or slave; Greek bondservant". I thought, "What's the difference? Aren't they the same thing? And if so, why make a note of it?" As I asked all these questions, my Lord answered by inspiring me to do something very simple, "look it up." I did, although I wasn't sure why; especially because I thought I already knew what both of these words meant. It turns out, I didn't.

As you can see from the definitions above, there is a huge difference between the two words. Most of us will simply explain that both words describe a person who is in service to another. While this definition is close, it is not accurate and misses a very significant difference. A servant is "paid", or "rewarded" for their service. While a bondservant expects no payment or reward for his service.

It was then the Lord taught me that while He does give us treasure in Heaven, this should not be the motivator for me to serve my Him. Instead, I must take cues from Moses and the Apostle Paul who both stated that if they could, they would give up their own eternal life in Christ Jesus to see others come to salvation.

I know we will all agree that there is no greater reward than our eternal salvation. Yet, these two faithful brothers in the Lord, due to their great love for God, desired to give up their own salvation; their greatest reward, if by any possible means this would bring God more glory, and fill our Father God's heart with joy and gladness. WOW! Now, that's agape love returned to God!

Of course, the Lord clearly answered "No" for only Jesus Christ is qualified to be the propitiation for anyone's eternal life.

"So Moses returned to the LORD and said, 'Alas, this people have sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin -- but if not, please blot me out of your book that You have written.' "
~ Exodus 32:31-32

"I am speaking the truth in Christ -- I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit -- that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to flesh."
~ Romans 9:1-3

This brings me to Romans 1, where the Apostle Paul opens his letter with this salutation:

"Paul, a servant [bondservant] of Christ Jesus..." I'll stop here. I've read this probably hundreds of times, but I recently noticed that when I read Scripture, I have a tendency to just run over the salutations. But this time, as I prayed for God to make known to me, His ways, to teach me His paths and to lead me in His truth (Psalm 25:4-5), the Holy Spirit quickened me to stop at this salutation and meditate on it. I did, and here's He showed me:

"Could you open a letter with this salutation? For that matter, could you open a conversation, or any dealings with another human being with this thought: 'Hello, my name is Sunny, I am a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ.' "

Honestly speaking, I know that I could've never (in good conscience) introduced myself this way before, as I haven't always behaved as a bondservant to Christ, but as a bondservant to my dead and disgusting flesh; insisting to have my own way. While I may have not been able to do this before, I should've been able to - and plan to from now on.

For the past few weeks, before I write anything to anyone, or say anything to anyone, I will (maybe not out loud, lest I cause others to stumble) in my heart and mind say, "Hello, my name is Sunny, a bondservant of Jesus Christ." Do you know what I've noticed since I began doing this? It has drastically changed what I do, how I do things, and the attitude in which I do them; whether they be in writing, in daily chores, in speaking--in everything.

I've noticed that in the past few weeks, I speak less. I fight and argue less. I less often insist on my opinion and better that all this, I've found that keeping this in the forethought of my mind has caused me to hear God's Holy Spirt much clearer and better!

Won't you join me? Begin to introduce yourself everywhere you go, in your heart and mind, "Hello my name is [insert your name here], a bondservant of Jesus Christ." Then wait and listen intently to what your Master is speaking to you and you'll know exaclty why I have this huge grin on my face right now! ♥