Today, we had a very interesting fellowship with a friend of ours who paid us a visit. The question that formed the basis of our discussion was: “Are we the children of God or are we His servants?” We discovered that there are many aspects of our relationship with God that may not be so revealed to us a result of which we may relate with God in limited ways. Our friend had listened to a preacher who established that he is not a servant of God but His child. The way it sounded is like the two references are mutually exclusive, that is, if you are one you can’t be the other.
I don’t agree with this attitude. According to my understanding of the Scripture, we are both. We are children as we are servants. Being the children of God doesn’t take away our being His servants just as being His servants doesn’t take away our being His Children.
When I felt a call to be a writer, the first thing that burned in my heart concerned the balance of God’s Word. Though other titles jumped the queue, so that I have already published three books and have two more ready, I still feel that the topic of balance of the Word of God remains one of the most wanting areas in our Christian life and attitude.
In societies where dogs are left to roam about, it is not uncommon to watch a dog find a carcass, pick a piece of bone from it and bolt away, leaving the rest of the stuff behind. If he happens to come back for more, he would pick another piece and run away again.
The above can be likened to the way we treat the Word of God. Many a time we come a cross a scripture, a body of instruction or a revelation, we pick it and “run away” with it, not caring about the whole stuff. If we happen to come back to the other portions of the Scripture, we take another piece and behave as if that is all there is in the Word of God.
When one discovered that he is a child of God and wants to reject any reference of him being His (God’s) servant, it is exactly the illustration of someone who has picked one aspect of his relationship with God and wants to close out other aspects of the relationship.
Servanthood is a reference that reminds us of the call for humility. The apostles often referred to themselves as “servants” of Christ. Did this mean they didn’t know that they were the children of God? In the letter of James, the writer (James the brother of the Lord Jesus) didn’t even introduce himself as the “brother” of the Lord but, “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (Jam. 1:1 NIV).
Though he didn’t address himself as a servant as he introduced himself in his first letter, the apostle Peter never played down his servanthood (see 2 Peter 1:1).
If we refuse the fact that we are servants of God because we have known that we His children, we would be in danger of not worshipping Him. When Jesus said: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15, NIV), He never meant that His disciples start relating with Him as a pal and a buddy. They were His friends but He was equally the Lord whom they had to worship and revere.