I’ve been struggling with the dichotomy of being a Christian. In my quiet time I read about how much God loves me, how much He values me and how much He wants to bless me. He is my Prince Charming who wants to sweep me off my feet and lavish me with all that He has. Ezekiel 16.8-14 gives an amazing image of God as our bridegroom vowing to enter into a most precious covenant of love with us:
“Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine. I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD” (The Message).
I have to be honest. When I read this, I feel very spoiled and loved. I know that God wants to establish each of His children as royalty and co-heirs with Christ. Whenever I feel ugly, unworthy or inconsequential, I like to meditate on these verses. They make me feel like a princess. It blows my mind that the Creator of all wants to enter into such an intimate relationship with me.
However, I leave my sweet quiet time with God and resume my life on this earth, and I don’t feel like a princess any more. . . . I feel like a servant in my tattered, threadbare rags.
I remember one particular day when I had such an amazing time with God. He filled me with so much joy, love and peace. He told me how much He wanted to shine through me and that He had a wonderful journey for me. I felt adored and valued! But then the clock struck twelve, and I had to leave my gown behind and finish mopping the floors and making dinner.
I was more than a little angry, and I asked God, “Why do You make me feel so special, and then send me off to serve this broken world and humble myself to everyone around me?”
God gave me the image of Cinderella and her two worlds. She is a servant by day and a beautiful princess by night. When her coach turns back to the pumpkin, she continues serving her family as usual, yet . . . she has a glow about her. The love that she received from her prince consumes her, and no matter the menial tasks (cleaning, cooking, working ), she has a smile on her lips and a song in her heart. She knows that one day she’ll be living in her castle with her prince forever!
As God’s children and followers of Jesus, we are “royal servants.” Jesus sits at the right hand of God at the ball (Acts 2.32-33), but He kneels down at the feet of His followers and washes their feet (John 13.12)! Jesus is the ultimate example of this Christian dichotomy.
Jesus explained the importance of serving to His disciples: “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” ( Matthew 20.26-28 NIV).
But what is so important about serving?
Serving is the same thing as providing for needs. If you have plenty, you can provide for many needs. If you have lack, you can provide for very few needs. God is the only one who has everything. He is all sufficient. His needs are all met. Therefore, it stands to reason that to serve (provide for needs) is God-like and to take is child-like.
God made us in His image, and He allows us to serve the needs of others. Serving is our highest calling. When we serve, we are emulating our Father, the King of the Universe. But serving is exhausting, and we are only human. We will deplete our resources eventually, and that is why Cinderella’s two worlds are so important. We serve and provide for those around us, and God serves and provides for us.
He takes us to the ball and spoils us. He replenishes us with His grace and fills us with His glory, so when the time comes, we can go back to the world and serve the needs of others. But there is a catch. You won’t be able to effectively and joyful serve others if you are not spending time with the King.
So slip on your pretty glass slippers and run to the King. He has a red carpet laid out for you, and He has asked the orchestra to play your favorite song. He’s ready to adorn you in jewels and embroidered gowns. And He has your favorite foods spread out for your enjoyment!
Go! Run to the King! He wants to spoil you!
1 Corinthians 9:19 (The Message)
“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!”
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