A Posture of Servitude
Servitude is an essential position within the Kingdom of God. While it requires humility and a lowly posture of heart, the fanfare will resound within God’s heavenly family, and praises will be lifted up as we care for the least of these.
The definition of servitude by the Holman Bible Dictionary is hard labor done by servants or conscripted workers. The Hebrew term is translated as service, and service is work done for other people or God and the worship of God. I love how serving at its best is worship.
We discover in the book of Mark that greatness is demonstrated by service, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 AMP
Service to others comes with the territory of being a disciple of Christ. To share in the mission and the vision of Jesus, we must have a posture of open hands, a heart to receive, and a willingness to embrace with child-like wonder.
Jesus encourages us to serve as He served. He is the example by which we follow. There are numerous examples found in the Bible of men and women who generously gave of their time and resources to serve others in the name of Christ. In 1 Kings 17:7-16, we learn about the widow of Zarephath, who exemplified a posture of servitude.
Service to Others Requires Obedience
As disciples of Christ, the Holy Spirit speaks to us. It is in these moments that, by God’s gift of free will, we can either decide to be obedient to His promptings or go our own way.
Elijah is obedient and travels to Zarephath to find the widow that the Lord has set apart to feed him. We learn that her food is running so low that she is gathering sticks to take home for her son and her to eat, and in her words, “to die.” Even still, Elijah asks her for water to drink and bread to eat.
Obedience is hard when your circumstances don’t seem to be too promising. In these moments, your mental capacity and spiritual strength are at war with one another. The reality of the situation is you have a choice to make – obedience or disobedience?
As the widow begins to explain that she had very little flour and olive oil, the Lord spoke through Elijah, “Don’t be afraid” (vs. 13). How wonderful would it be if we had individuals like Elijah before us to speak to us and reassure us that everything will be OK when making decisions.
But, we know our God is a gracious Father reminding us that when He asks us to do things that seem impossible, we don’t need to be afraid or doubtful. Why? Because He prepares a way for us. The Believer’s Bible Commentary states, “God had arranged that a gentle widow would feed him.” God has a plan, and our role is to follow Him in obedience.
Obedience is choosing to believe that God remains steady and faithful to His word. Obedience is choosing to do the hard things He asks of us and trusting that He will provide every need according to His will (Philippians 4:19).
The widow served Elijah out of her meager means. Yet, even when she couldn’t see how it would work, she believed because the Lord said so.
Service to Others Produces Abundance
The widow gathered the courage to be obedient, and in the act of doing so, she experienced God’s faithfulness and kindness.
Just as Elijah said, the flour was not used up, and the oil did not run dry. There was enough food every day for the widow, her family, and Elijah.
Luke 6:38 AMP says, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over [with no space left for more]. For with the standard of measurement you use [when you do good to others], it will be measured to you in return.”
As we serve others out of whatever personal means we have, God remains steady and faithful. Therefore, when we decide to help others, even when it is hard, He will provide the resources needed and immeasurably more due to our faithful obedience.
Service to Others Strengthens Faith
As the widow stepped into obedience in serving Elijah, she witnessed the miracle of God’s provision through multiplication. Even when she could not fathom how her needs would be met, she continued to trust in the Lord and do what was asked of her. And within the process, her faith was strengthened.
“He answered, ‘Because of your little faith [your lack of trust and confidence in the power of God]; for I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have [living] faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and [if it is God’s will] it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’” Matthew 17:20 AMP
The widow of Zarephath is a beautiful example of child-like faith. The mountain in front of her took on the appearance of a lack of food for her family. This proverbial mountain was so large that she began looking for earthly solutions in her own strength by contemplating feeding her family with sticks.
Through the Holy Spirit, Elijah encouraged her faith, and through the same Spirit, she was inspired to believe.
Think of the times you were asked to give your time or money, and you were unsure of the ask because of your lack of resources. It can be hard to step out in faith, not knowing how your decision will impact you or your loved ones. But also recognizing that you were in direct disobedience to God’s call if you did not oblige.
My friend, this is where our faith must be exercised. We are to step out, placing our complete trust and confidence in God, knowing full well that through God, all things are possible. Serving strengthens our faith.
Just as the widow of Zarephath, when you step out into obedience, your faith is strengthened, and through your service, you receive joy and abundance through God’s blessings.
Called to Serve
I hope you recognize that serving is more than just doing charitable things for others. Servitude strengthens our spiritual muscles and hearts as we walk in obedience. Serving is also a form of worship as we give God the glory through serving others – fanfare will resound, and praises will be lifted up as we care for the least of these.
We are called to serve. We are called to give of our time, talents, and resources to minister to others. And when we do help others, we can receive glimpses of heaven. When we place others first, we are experiencing the true love of Christ as we love our neighbors as ourselves.
In your faith walk, are you exhibiting a posture of servitude? If not, I encourage you to spend time reading about the many people of the Bible who exemplified Christ-like qualities through a posture of servitude.
Keep on shining!