When we think of fulfillment, we rarely look at the area of servanthood. Very few people wake up and say, “I wish I could serve more!” Rather, we are taught from an early age that satisfaction comes from living a life that meets our goals and our dreams.
If you happen upon a commencement speech in the next few weeks, you’ll most likely hear a familiar theme. Regardless of the nuanced personalized stories, the speech will eventually lead to the conclusion that satisfaction is rooted in living a life that passionately pursues our greatest and grandest aspirations.
The only problem with such hyperbole is very few people make servanthood their grand aspiration. No one says, “When I grow up I want to be a servant!”
In the story of Exodus we see how important servanthood is to God.
“Let my people go, that they may serve me.” Six times in the book of Exodus Moses is commanded by God to say these words to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:16; 8:1; 8:20; 9:1; 9:13: 10:3).
Pharaoh’s refusal to obey this exhortation leads to 10 plagues against Pharaoh’s kingdom (blood, frogs, gnats, flies, death of livestock, boils, hail, locusts, Dancing with the Stars, darkness, and the death of first born sons). Pharaoh is obviously a slow learner.
For most, the summary of Exodus goes something like “the children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt and God freed them through his servant Moses.” Even the Charlton Heston version gets this right. However, freedom from Pharaoh is only half the story. Freedom to serve God is the other half! The half we don’t mind forgetting.
“Let my people go, that they may serve me.” We are ultimately freed from bondage so we can serve God completely. The sign we are walking in God’s freedom is our lives are structured around serving God. God’s will becomes our will. God’s ways become our ways. Our lives become a living prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Many try to serve God to get something from God. Sometimes we give him our time, money, energy, and resources as a spiritual bribe. We try on spirituality to get God to serve our grand plans. But God says, “Go tell Pharaoh! Let my people go, that they may serve me!”
If you’re struggling in your spiritual journey, maybe today would be a good day to examine the motivations of your life. Are you serving God or are you trying to make this god thing serve you. The answer to this question will make all the difference in the world.