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Whose I am, And Whom I Serve

"This short sentence is a sermon. It is the key-note of all Paul's ministry." - The People's New Testament

"As Jesus demonstrated in the Upper Room celebration of the Passover, every true follower of Christ must become a servant."
- Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary

"To be a servant of the Lord is a position to which even kings might aspire. Since there is no greater Lord, there is no greater position than to be aligned with His purposes."
- Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary

"The more a servant knows about his master, the more useful and effective he can be."
- Believer's Bible Commentary

"What a challenge to us in our day. If we expect to be used by God, we need not be great in the eyes of the world. But we must saturate ourselves with the Scriptures, till the thoughts and concerns revealed by God become an integral part of our hearts and minds too."
- Bible Background Commentary - New Testament

In the Bible, we find two words having the same meaning - yet differing in gender. The female part is "handmaid," while the male part is "servant."

There were two people found in the New Testament who - by their words - exemplified  a beautiful submission to...unhesitating acceptance of..and absolute resignation to the will of God.

These two individuals were Mary, Jesus' mother, and the Apostle Paul.

In Luke 1:38, we find Mary's expression of obedience of faith in response to God's will for her life - "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word..." By referring to herself as "the handmaid of the Lord," she was actually saying that she was willing to submit to and obey His directive for her life.

Barnes' Notes interpreted her statement of faith in this way - "I fully credit all that is said, and am perfectly ready to obey all the commands of the Lord." Adam Clarke paraphrased it as - "I fully credit what Thou sayest, and am perfectly ready to obey Thy commands, and to accomplish all the purposes of Thy grace concerning me." And Matthew Henry offered his restatement with these words - "Lord, I am at Thy service, at Thy disposal, to do what Thou commandest me."

In her response to the angel Gabriel, Mary was placing herself completely at God's disposal - even though she knew the outcome of her response would bring shame and disgrace on her in the eyes of her neighbors and peers. Her unhesitating compliance showed her devout and obedient character. She owned herself to be the believing subject to Divine Authority.  

Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary added this further comment on her proclamation - "Maidservant suggests humility before the Lord and a readiness for faithful and obedient service, which should characterize every believer."

The next Bible character to demonstrate submission and obedience to God's will for his life was the Apostle Paul. Throughout the Scriptures, we find him referring to himself as "a servant of Jesus Christ"(Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1). By calling himself the Lord's slave or bondservant, he was actually saying that he belonged to Jesus. In other words, he was His property. His slavery to Christ was voluntarily done out of love. 

Like Mary, we find an expression in the Scriptures which illustrates his consecration to the Lord's service. This expression is a very short statement which turned out to be the key-note of his entire ministry. It is found in Acts 27:23 and says - "...Whose I am, and Whom I serve." Here Paul expressed his entire devotedness to God. He acknowledged that he belonged to Him, and it was to His cause that he was entirely devoted.

Let's examine these two statements side by side -

"...Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word..."
"...God, Whose I am, and Whom I serve."

Now, take a moment and reflect on your walk with the Lord. When He calls on you to perform a certain task or fulfill a particular calling, do you serve Him with great pleasure, cheerfulness, diligence, constancy, and faithfulness...from right principles and with right views - being constrained by love...and in the best manner that you can - in true holiness and righteousness...in an acceptable manner...with reverence and godly fear... heartily... willingly...disclaiming all other lords...and running all risks to fulfill His will? Do you look upon Him as your rightful owner - the One Who has an incontestable title to you and dominion over you? Are you aware that you are rightfully His by way of creation and redemption? Because you are His, are you cognizant of the fact that you are bound to serve Him - devoting your all to His honor and employing yourself in His work?

If God were to ask you to walk through a difficult place like Mary or to face hardships like Paul for the Gospel's sake, would your response be - "be it unto me according to Thy word"? Is your mind so saturated with the Word of God to believe and accept the fact that you are His property and His servant - to use as He so chooses?

Interestingly enough, in Psalm 116:16, we find David using a similar expression as that of Mary and Paul. He said - "O LORD, truly I am Thy servant; I am Thy servant... Thou hast loosed my bonds." Having been loosed from the bondage to sin and delivered from spiritual and physical death, he felt an obligation to give himself freely to the Lord. God had preserved His servant alive; hence, he lived with, for, and to Him. Rightfully, really, heartily, and constantly, David obliged himself to be God's servant all his days.

"...Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word..."
"...God, Whose I am, and Whom I serve"

"O LORD, truly I am Thy servant; I am Thy servant..."

"Maidservant suggests humility before the Lord and a readiness for faithful and obedient service, which should characterize every believer."

God is looking for servants who will exemplify humility before Him and a readiness for faithful and obedient service.

Does that describe you?

Know this - God's will is not always easy nor is it always pleasant. What He was requiring of Mary and Paul would be painful at times. They would be required to suffer heartache, emotional anguish, and indescribable suffering. In Luke 2:35, Simeon prophesied these words to Mary - giving her a "taste" of what lie ahead - "(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also;) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed"  (Luke 2:35). In Acts 9:15-16, we read the word of the Lord that came to Ananias concerning Saul (Paul) - "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name's sake."

No matter what the assignment or task is that is given to you, are you willing to say in response to the Lord - "...be it unto me according to Thy word"?

That all depends on whether or not you are His true servant.

May God Bless His Word.
Connie