August 3

Slave of God? Servant of Christ?


Slave of God? Servant of Christ?

James, a doulus (slave or servant) of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ…

James 1:1

Slave of God?

I am not a slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps I should be, but I am not.

When I think of the word slave as one who is not his own but belongs to another, I am not sure that describes me. I like to say that I am not my own. I like to say I belong to Christ. My actions betray me otherwise.

I have too many other things that I like to do. I make sure that I have the time and the energy to do them. Yes, I still proclaim the Gospel. I pray. I read the scriptures. I strive to love God and to love neighbor. My life, however, doesn’t reflect that of a slave. It looks more like a man that is free than anything else.

Servant of Christ?

Many well-known translations do not use the word slave. They argue the idea we have of slave today is much different than in the days of James. They translate doulus to mean servant or bondservant. One could become a servant voluntarily. A person could agree to be a bondservant for a certain period of time. Perhaps a person had a debt to pay-off. They could agree to work it off. This translation changes the meaning of the word a bit.

One of the best explanations I have heard in this context of the word doulus is this:

one who gives himself up to another's will; those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men.

Now this metaphor I like. Do I give my service to Christ to extend and advance his cause among men? Absolutely.

Which AM I?

I guess it is all in the translation. If it is servant, then yes, I am a servant of Christ. If it is slave, I don’t qualify.  

Such a confession might shock some people. I must be honest with God and myself. I know I don’t meet the criteria of slave of God. I am not worthy of such a title.

Servanthood though? I’ll serve Jesus every day.

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