Jesus talked much about being servants and what it means to lay down our life, to give ourselves to each other in the presence of his Father and the other kids of the Kingdom for the sheer joy of it. His promise is that Jesus, His Father, and the Wonder Working Holy Spirit will make us alive. I’m in! 100% in!
But what I’m not good with is how much of what Jesus said gets turned into another life-draining formula or performance. I want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” as much as the next brother, but I’m not good with being an empty shell of a guy to get there. I guess I’m tired of being manipulated.
After Jesus taught his disciples about being servants and just before he gave them the most magnificent personal example of it, he said: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (Jn 15:15-17 ESV).
So why is the primary matrix by which most Christians understand our relationship with God – Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – that of Servant? Could it be, in our brokenness, it is easier to accept an identity as servant prodigals returning from the swill and the sty than it is to accept ourselves as sons of our Father? Could it be, like the prodigal, we do not believe our Father is really good, so good he will receive us again into the celebration of His life, His love, and His unending affection for us?
The challenge for men who follow Jesus Christ in the 21st century is NOT how to be better servants or more efficient and effective result-producing Christians. It is, in fact, whether we will let Jesus and His Father with the lovely Spirit of God who still breathes on the face of the deep make creation new – whether we will let THAT God make friends of us because he actually enjoys our presence as sons.
A son, a friend of Jesus, who because his identity is secure can lay down his life in service to the world, his family, the church and his brothers! Of that man we will say, “Oh how he loved us!”
by Wes Yoder, author of Bond of Brothers – Connecting with Other Men beyond Work, Weather and Sports.