What does it mean to be a servant? I would like to look at one aspect, our claims of ownership. Servants do not own themselves, let alone the other things they might claim. C. S. Lewis in the Screwtape Letters mentions the many senses of the word “my”. There are “my boots,” “my wife,” “my country,” “my church,” and “my God.” According to Lewis, Satan’s strategy is to reduce everything to the level of “my boots.” Also, according to Lewis the more claims we have on life, the easier it is for the devil to tempt us. We make claims on our time, our money, our energy and our possessions. This can even go into the spiritual realm--as our ministry, our Bible study, our classroom. Heaven forbid that God should use someone else to accomplish His work! This results in a list of things we have a right to, and we become anxious and angry when we do not get them. Now let me be clear that I’m the same way. There is a meeting at work, and I sit there waiting for others to make it so we can start, thinking of the work I could be getting done. I am driving down the road, and someone turns or cuts right in front of me. I am at a fast food place and do not feel I am being served fast enough. If I do not watch myself carefully (and sometimes even when I try to), I can get impatient. I get irritable and have to bite my tongue to keep from saying things I shouldn’t. (I am not always successful).
What should we do about this? We need to realize everything we are comes from God (Psalms 139:13-16). Also, we are bought with a price and are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:20). Further, everything we have is provided by God (Matthew 6:25-34). Even any ability we have to obey God and to serve Him comes from Him (John 15:5; Philippians 2:13; Romans 8:8). In fact, every good thing comes from God (James 1:17).
That is not to say we should not enjoy the good things God has given us. But if we can put them in perspective, we can begin to not make the kinds of claims which will encourage us to assert our rights. Rather, we will be servants who put others before ourselves and consider others’ interests as well as our own (Philippians 2:3,4). Then we will be followers of the One who had every right to stay on His throne in heaven and enjoy the worship of angels, but was born in a cattle trough, lived first as a carpenter and then a wandering preacher, and was put to death by slow torture that we might be saved from sin, death, and hell (Philippians 2:5-11).