Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness. (Titus 1:1)
We Are All Bondservants
Slavery is not a popular subject. In relation to our Lord that is all we can be. During the days of the early disciples slavery was as common as people. The Roman Empire subjected vast territories with its many nations using captives as an economy of industry to fuel the ambitions of the rulers. Paul, born Saul of Tarsus, was one of the elite of the Roman world as well as the Jewish world. He was a Roman citizen. His rise to power within the Jewish community is well known. But then he met the Lord. He gave all of that up to become a bondservant – a slave. It is hard to appreciate how humbling an experience can be to transform voluntarily from riches to the rags of slavery but that is what our brother Paul did. It is of no small measure that he begins his letter to Titus referring to his own life as a bondservant of God.
Paul was not alone in letting the world know of his slavery. Epaphras (Colossians 1:7; 4:12), James (James 1:1), Peter (2 Peter 1:1), Jude (Jude 1), Phoebe (Romans 16:1), Tychicus (Colossians 4:7) all were servants of Jesus Christ. And why not? Paul refers to Jesus Christ as a bondservant in Philippians 2:7 and a servant in Romans 15:8. We are servants of a bondservant. Let that sink in for a moment.
The Greek word ‘doulos,’ is slave, one who is not free. It expresses the condition of one who has a master, or who is at the control of another. America is the land of the free. The kingdom of God is the land of the servant. We are not free as people of God yet we have been set free. At one time we were slaves of sin but now have become slaves of righteousness. What is important about this idea is to realize that our lives belong to God. We are servants of the world we live in because the Creator is the one who sends the rain and provides for us. Our salvation is from His grace. More than that we live as servants, bondservants or slaves to our Lord. We have no rights but only the rights provided by the will of our master – Jehovah God.
A slave has a mindset that is very different from all others. Paul proclaimed his allegiance to Jesus Christ by calling himself a bondservant. As we work ourselves through this fifth day of the week – may we learn to be servants to one another as we are servants to God! Servants with humble spirits, forgiving, kind, benevolent, encouraging and most of all – working for our Lord!
I am a Christian. I am a bondservant. That will help when the person cuts you off in traffic. Today someone may do something at work that displeases you – be a humble slave of Christ. Your marriage may need some blessings – have a heart of a bondservant and forgive. Slavery is joy when it is in Christ.
If we trust, and if we relinquish our will, and yield to the Divine will, then we find that we are afloat on a buoyant sea of peace and under us are the everlasting arms. (Helen Keller, Story of My Life, 1905)