Saved for Servanthood
“We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.”
The Gospel of Luke begins with the story of Zechariah. While serving in the temple in Jerusalem during his priestly rotation, Zechariah receives a surprise visit from an angel, who informs him that his wife is about to give birth to a son even though she is well past childbearing age. Zechariah’s doubtful response earns him a season of enforced quietness, since he won’t be able to speak until his son is born.
When the child was born, Zechariah’s lips were unsealed, and he praised God with a song we know as the Benedictus (from the first word of the song in Latin). In this song, Zechariah praised God for sending a royal Savior to Israel. Anticipating the coming of the Messiah, Zechariah exclaimed,
“We have been rescued from our enemies
so we can serve God without fear,
in holiness and righteousness
for as long as we live.”
Notice carefully the order of this thought. We have been rescued . . . so we can serve. Servanthood is a response to God’s gracious salvation. It is not something that earns salvation.
What Zechariah celebrated in the Benedictus is true for us. We have been saved by God’s grace offered through Jesus Christ. We do not earn God’s favor through our good works. But that doesn’t mean good works are unimportant. Rather, they are a response to God’s gracious salvation.
This truth is captured in Ephesians 2:8-10, a biblical passage we call “The Laity Lodge Text.” It reads: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When you think of serving God, is your servanthood a response to God’s salvation? Do you live your life with an awareness that God has recreated you in Christ for a life of good works?
PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for the salvation you freely offer in Christ. Thank you for saving me, not because I deserved it or earned it, but because you are a gracious, loving, forgiving God. All praise be to you!
Help me, dear Lord, to receive your salvation with joy. Yet may I continually remember that you have saved and recreated me so that I might walk in the good works you have ordained for me. Help me to offer my life to you in service, not out of some misguided desire to earn your favor, but in response to your favor freely given through Christ.
Use me this day, Lord! May I serve you in all that I do. May I be open to unexpected opportunities to serve you. May I live my life in continual readiness and availability to you. Amen.