Redemptive Gift of Servant
The Redemptive Gift of Servant comes from Jehovah Rapha – to mend, to cleanse. This is often translated “healing,” however the Hebrew translation is more along the lines of mend and cleanse. For example, think of doing a detox so your body can get rid of impurities which then leads to healing. This is a more accurate picture. Servants are very attuned and sensitive to the environment around them and tend to want to cleanse it, yet often in ways God has not called them to.
In Exodus 15, God cleanses the water so the Israelites can drink it. God then tells them that if they listen carefully to Him, pay attention to His commands and do what is right in His eyes, He will keep them cleansed from all the diseases that came on the Egyptians.
The picture is like a coach saying to an athlete: “If you will be here everyday and work hard, I’ll train you and give you the skills you need to enter into your promised land.”
Sam, in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, supported, encouraged, and protected Frodo repeatedly.
There’s the classic line in the movie where Frodo is so weary from his task and Sam says, “I can’t carry it (the ring) for you, but I can carry you.”
In another quote he says, “There’s some good in this world Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.” The servant often has hope when no apparent reason for hope is seen.
Sam and Bilbo were the only characters to ever have given up the ring willingly, and only Sam surrendered it readily.
Servants rarely seek their own kingdom. They seek to build others up.
What makes a Servant tick?
Drive – to mend, cleanse. The servant’s drive to serve is not for service in and of itself. They desire an environment where people are empowered, where people work together, and where brotherhood is felt.
The characteristics of servant flow from this drive:
- Sees needs and meets them (many times with no one asking)
- Very few enemies, a safe person
- Purity of motives, without guile
- Can be an enabler
Strength – Obedience. On a sports team, in a military platoon, in a church outreach, they naturally think, “Why wouldn’t everyone want to cooperate and make things work out the best for all?”
Weakness – not embracing their own authority. In the servant’s unshakable belief that they can build a platform under others, they often allow people to run over them, thinking this is “helping” or “serving” them. Tough love and boundaries can be difficult for servants.
God gives the healthy view of the servant in Exodus numerous times: “If you…, then I…” The classic picture of a broken servant is the woman married to an abusive alcoholic believing year after year that he will change. If she can just keep the house nice enough, the kids behaved enough, etc.
God serves the Israelites, cleanses and mends them, only as they do their part. God does not enter into a codependent relationship with them.
A servant’s key to success in life and forward movement will be to work within their natural strengths to promote people overcoming and working together. But they will have to overcome their reluctance to use authority to accomplish this, which involves setting boundaries and handling conflicts without defaulting to hiding from the “toxic” atmosphere.
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