The Perfect Servant of God
Are we striving to be like the perfect servant of God? Let’s take a look at the Good Samaritan to remind us of the mindset we should have towards others
We all know the perfect servant of God is Jesus. As believers, are we not called to be like the perfect servant of the Lord? Are we not the Lord’s children (Rom. 8:14)? Did we not earn the right to become the children of God (John 1:12)? If we are sons of the Lord, let us remember what Paul said when he said (Phil. 2:5), “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ.” What mindset (attitude or purpose) did Christ have inside of Him?
Did Christ not have a mindset of love? No, surely He had a mindset of love. Did Christ not have a mindset of respect? Did Christ not have a mindset of humility? No, these sound a lot like the mindset of the Christ that I have studied about in scripture. So, the question is, are we striving to be like the perfect servant of God today?
As I often say, you can just take a look around at things and get your answer to this question. We live in a society of anger and hostilities that seemingly will not ever go away. Our society is made up of so-called believers who feel others should “go back where they came from” if they do not look like them, act like them, or have the same beliefs as them. So, instead of being merciful we become hostile in our actions towards those that are different.
We, as genuine believers, are called to be better than this. Our mindset should not be filled with such hostilities towards others. So, what I want to do is remind us of the type of servant that we are supposed to be. We are servants of the Lord, yes? I want to show us the type of servant that we should be. We must strive to be just like the perfect servant of God!
Introducing The Parable of the Good Samaritan
The parable of the Good Samaritan begins not so innocently, if you ask me. A lawyer stands up and seeks to test Jesus by asking Him (Luke 10:25), “what should I do to inherit eternal life?” (I think it’s interesting that a lawyer would ask this question. Maybe he wanted to argue with Jesus, in case he thought Jesus would answer wrongly?) So, Jesus responds by asking the lawyer a question, “What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?”
The lawyer thought that he was going to test Jesus, but Jesus turns the tables on him. Jesus essentially is asking, “Do you know the Law? If so, what is your understanding of it?” A lot of people say and think they know scripture, but they cannot share a true understanding of scripture. They will simply say, “scripture says this or that,” but because they have not studied scripture they do not really have an understanding for it. (This is why studying scripture is so important for us.)
Interestingly enough, the lawyer answers correctly. He answered that he should love the Lord with all of his heart and soul. He also answered that he should love his neighbor as he loves himself. This should sound very familiar to us because I quote this commandment of love often (Matt. 22:37-39).
I’m not certain how this lawyer had been treating his neighbors because he then felt the need to justify the way he had been living (Luke 10:29). So, he asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” (This is what kickstarted the parable of the Good Samaritan: a question about how one gains eternal life, and a question asking who is my neighbor.) We all want to go to heaven, right? We all have faith in the Lord because we know that faith in Him is how we get to that heavenly place. To get to heaven, one also has to strive to be just like the perfect servant. So, Jesus tells us this parable to illustrate what would make one just like the perfect servant.
The Flawed Servant
Jesus tells us of a certain man that was leaving Jerusalem and going to Jericho (Luke 10:30). Unfortunately for this man, thieves came upon him, robbed him, stripped him, and beat him near to death. This man is now without whatever he possessed, laying out on the highway, and barely hanging in for life. We would say that this certain man is a man that is in serious trouble, right? He is in need of some serious help. Fortunately for him, people travel this highway so surely somebody would stop to help?
Do you stop to help those who are in need of serious help? By my asking this question, I don’t want you to think I mean a situation that is literally the same to this situation. We know that there are many people who are in serious need of help with different situations in their life. Do you help or do you continue to find ways to put up barriers between you and those in need of help so that you don’t have to see or hear their cries? Are we really striving towards being a perfect servant of the Lord and helping those who are in genuine need of help?
We all know how this parable goes but I want to take a look at the people traveling down this highway. The first person we are told of that come across the nearly dead body of the certain man is a priest (Luke 10:31).
The priest as a flawed servant
Priest were not only supposed to be servants of the Lord, but they were supposed to be servants of the people. (The people could go to the priest for spiritual guidance and leadership, much like what is expected of preachers.) Helping people should be in the nature of this priest, right? We would believe that he knows the ways of the Lord. Certainly we would believe he knows the Law, so, surely he would stop to help his neighbor.
Jesus tells us that the priest chose to pass by on the other side, away from the man (Luke 10:31). Again, let us note that the certain man is laying on the highway, near death, and this servant of the Lord chooses to pass by on the other side! Somebody may suggest a reason that, “maybe he thought it was a trap.” I would say, stop making up excuses for this priest!
You see, we are good when it comes to making up excuses for when we don’t do something to help others! We go into self preservation mode because in our society, depending on the side of town you are on, it’s best not to stop and help. In other situations, a lot of times we just don’t feel like getting caught up in other folks mess! So we become real good at creating excuses for ourselves and even for others as well.
However, in this scenario, no matter what reason you come up with, the priest chose wrongly! Whether he thought it was a trap or not, he acted wrongly by leaving man on the highway like he was road kill. He should not have left him laying on the highway! (Let’s note that the priest didn’t even bother to check the man!) We should not treat each other like we are less than the Lord’s creation! To denigrate each other to be less than human is simply not Christian!
The flawed Levite
After not receiving help from one servant of the Lord, another servant comes down the highway, this one a Levite (Luke 10:32). If you’re not familiar with what a Levite is: a Levite was one of the 12 tribes of Israel. The Levites were to assist the priests and serve in the temple. So, in other words, this Levite was also a man that knew the Lord, knew the way of the Lord, and knew the Law as well. We would think that the Levite would stop to help this man who is in serious need of help, right?
Jesus says that when the Levite arrived to the place where the man’s body lay, nearly dead, that he actually goes and looks at the man. (I guess maybe this is a step further than what the priest did?) Yet he, just like the priest, decides that it’s better to keep moving down the highway in their self-preservation.
Again, somebody will ask, “Why had nobody else stopped to help him?” Why do we always look to push helping others off on somebody else? You see, I can’t tell you what everybody else was doing when they were going down the highway. I can only tell you that these two servants of the Lord did not stop to help somebody who was in need. The actions that both of these men took were the actions of a flawed servant. (Be aware of the actions they took and do the opposite of them.) Sadly, many of us are just like these two religious leaders – we won’t stop to help anybody who is in need.
The Good Samaritan – The Perfect Servant
The next man coming down the highway is the one we, who strive to be like the perfect servant, should imitate. Jesus tells us that a Samaritan came down the highway and saw the man (Luke 10:33). However, unlike the other two, the Samaritan man had compassion for the man. (Compassion: a type of love; sympathy and pity for the sufferings and misfortunes of others.)
What is so interesting about the Samaritan’s compassion is who he is potentially being compassionate for. The nearly half dead man could have been a Jew. (The Jews and Samaritans did not necessarily share a good relationship. Jews did not tend to look kindly on the Samaritan people because of their bloodlines.) We see this a lot in our time now, right? People choosing not to have compassion on others because of where they may have come from, what they look like, how the dress, and the language that they speak.
This Samaritan stopped to help a man who could have potentially not cared much about him, but he stopped anyway. Look at what Jesus says the Samaritan did for the nearly dead man (Luke 10:34): cleaned his wounds, bandaged him, sat him on his animal, and took him to an inn. The Samaritan cared for this man. He went as far as to spend the night with the certain man! The next day, he paid for the room and the care of the man. He tells the innkeeper, “care for him and if I owe you anything more for his care, I will pay you back!”
Over and beyond in compassion
You see, that is how you help those who are in need – you go over and beyond in your compassion! Jesus says to the lawyer (Luke 10:37), “go and be like the Samaritan!” How many of us can truly say that we have this type of mindset within us? Sadly, our society has been moved in the direction to where you can’t help anybody out of fear of a situation maybe leading to your own trouble.
We are told repeatedly to fear those who are not like us. Fear those who don’t dress like you, talk like you, or believe in the same things that you do. Our neighbor, however, are all of those who we can see, touch, hold on too, and even help! (Everybody is your neighbor whether they are in Atlanta or California; whether they are in America or Central America; whether they are in North America or all of Africa).
Fear, I believe, is what may have caused those two religious leaders to pass the man in need of help. Paul said (2 Tim. 1:7) that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love! We, as His faithful, should strive to have the same mindset of Christ. Christ had no fear and would help anybody without fearing what they would do to Him!
You see, fear is a friend of Satan’s, not the Lord! So, if we are striving to be like the perfect servant, let us learn to not listen to those who spread fear. The perfect servant would have compassion for his fellow man and woman. Keep in mind the good Samaritan! Remember your calling to be a servant of the Lord.