The Servant Relationship
I teach public speaking. When one gives a speech, you put words in a particular order so they make sense. If you don’t, your logic gets all messed up, and listeners or readers get confused. “What does he mean?” they might ask.
The other day I was trying to explain this concept to my speaking students, and, right there in front of the class, it dawned on me: When we try to make a point in a speech, we need master and servant sentences. I put an example on the board:
I suggest the same applies regarding God and relationships, that there is a big statement we can take as probably true and that certain facts support it. For example:
In every corner of society we accept authority as important and necessary. We respect the roles of bosses, coaches, teachers, police officers, judges, and parents. So why is it that when it comes to God and relating we often ignore, run from, challenge, or outright disobey the guidelines of Him who cares deeply for our well-being?
Do we think God’s ways spoil our fun?
Do we think God’s ways constrain our freedoms?
Do we believe we can figure out best practices on our own?
Do we think science alone can give us ethics for how we ought to treat each other?
I have seen learned people struggle in their relationships and people who walk away from God end up in challenging relationships. And yes, I have seen committed Christians limp along too.
But I ask: whose authoritative wisdom will we follow in attempting to thrive in our closest relationships?
Jesus’ words in Matthew 10 come to mind: “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters.”
May we be like the master teacher.
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Bill Strom, Author
I am a believer by faith, a professor by vocation, a husband by choice, a father by blessing, and a friend by hanging out. Along the way I have learned about close relating through my experiences, biblical models, and social science research. Hopefully my ideas and encouragement show up here in ways meaningful to you.