Today's post was written by Dimity Leath, a BH member who started Oak Tree Ministries in Gate City with her husband Alex. If you would like to learn more about Oak Tree Ministries and how you could serve alongside children and families in Marks Village, visit this site.
Since diving head long into the creation of Oak Tree Ministries eight months ago, my husband Alex and I have learned more than we could have ever imagined. God is lovingly and sovereignly wearing us out. Walking daily with our neighbors in the Marks Village Housing Project is changing us. We’ve been humbled, we’ve been uncomfortable, we’ve been dumbfounded, we’ve realized how inadequate we are, and we’ve been on our faces before God pleading for His sufficiency. And He hasn’t failed us yet.
Along this journey, God has been challenging me on issues that I have kept in the back of the closet for a while. He is dragging them out and saying, “This has got to go.” Most recently, He has gently exposed my delusion of “called to serve.” It’s a common phrase and a biblical phrase, but for me it gives me options – options on when to serve, how to serve, where to serve. In His majesty, God has asked me, “Dimity, are you willing to embrace being my slave not just my servant?” He is replacing “called to serve” with “purchased as slave.” This changes everything. It is no longer, “Okay, I’ll take on this project or serve for three months.” As a slave of Christ, I serve 24/7 with all of my heart, all for His glory, at His command. No options. No exemption clauses. Just, “Yes, Lord!”
Servant or Slave?
God turned up the heat while I was reading John MacArthur’s book Slave. These words jumped off the page, “There is a key distinction between [servant and slave]: servants are hired; slaves are owned.” I had to let that sink in for a minute and think of the implications.
Servants have OPTIONS in whom they work for, when they serve, and what they do, and they are often times motivated by payment or reward. In contrast, slaves LIVE to do whatever the master asks day in and day out because they are owned by the master. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been thinking that I get to choose, that I have options. The reality is, I am not my own. I was bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Placing Himself on the cross, Jesus paid it all purchasing me from slavery to sin and death and freeing me to be wholly His. I am not a mere servant; I am a slave. Hallelujah, I am a slave!
Now I get it, not perfectly, but more and more everyday, I get it. Every slave is a servant, but not every servant is a slave. Because I am truly God’s slave, I am to do His will when He commands, where He commands, and with what He makes available – no options. I don’t get to determine the conditions, set the pace, or call the shots. Mine is simply to obey my Master.
The lovely and ironic thing is that my Master isn’t as concerned with my work as a slave as He is with my heart to be a slave. He’s got the work! He can accomplish His will in the blink of His eye. He is giving me the privilege of being a part of His work so that He can change me in the process. He wants me to want Him more, to pray more, to listen more carefully, to act more intentionally, to get behind Him rather than run before Him, to put pride in the grave, to position myself like Samuel sleeping at the curtain’s edge so as not to miss Him when He calls my name (1 Sam. 3). I am a slave. Hallelujah!
Most importantly, the character of the master determines the life of the slave. My slavery is wholly dependent on my Master. My Master loves me. He wants only the best for me (which is Himself). He is patient with me. He gently leads and disciplines me as a tender shepherd. He keeps His promises. He is a good master. To be a slave to this Master is truly a privilege and an honor. I am now free to serve My Master as His slave. He is my Master. Hallelujah!
John MacArthur says it beautifully, “His bondage is true freedom. What He has required, He has also enabled by His grace. And He calls us to obey not because He needs us but because he knows that we need Him. After all, it is only in relationship with Him that our soul can be satisfied. Only by delighting in Him can we experience true joy and eternal life.”
He is my Master. Oh Lord, that I would be a slave in service to you. Hallelujah!