Workers’ Orientation Programme – The Concepts of Servanthood






Primarily, we are sons/daughters of God but we also wear another cap of being called ‘servants’ of the Lord. A servant is one in the service of his master. In order for us to understand the true meaning of service, we need to understand the concept of servant-hood. Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour is the perfect example of servant-hood as revealed in (Jn.13v4-15). The idea of servant-hood is also used
literally and figuratively in the bible (Matt.16v24: Jn.12v26: Matt.25v14-30: Lk.19v12-27). A simple definition of servant-hood will be ‘the state of being the servants of others, especially of God’. Our focus in this lesson will be essentially on what servant-hood is all about.

To understand servant-hood, we need to know who a servant is. One that waits i.e. stops, holds, attends, or one that is bound (from Latin word ‘servants’ from servo which means to keep or hold).
i. A person i.e. male/female that attends to another for the purpose of performing menial services for him or who is employed by another for such offices or for other labors and is subject to his command. The word is correlative to master (Matt.10v24). Servants differ from slaves as servants’ subjection to a master is voluntary while a slave is not. Every slave is a servant but every servant is not a slave.
ii. One in a state of subjection (Lk.7v8).
iii. A slave, a bondman, one purchased for money and was compelled to serve till the year of jubilee. It also means one purchased for a term of year.
iv. A subject of a king (1Sam.17v34: 2Ki.5v6: Ezra4v11: 2Sam.8v2, 6, 14).
v. A person who voluntarily serves another. For example, Moses and Joshua- (Jos.1v1: Exo.24v13: Isa.42v1) (Jesus Christ): Deut.34v5 (Moses).
vi. One who yields obedience to another. For example, saints as servants of God or righteousness and the wicked as servants of sin (Rom.6v13.16.18).
vii. That which yields obedience or acts on subordination as an instrument.
viii. One that makes a painful sacrifice in compliance with the weakness or wants of others.
ix. A person of base condition or ignoble spirit.
x. A word of civility. For example, I am sir, your humble and obedient servant.
xi. A self-designated title of respect. For example (2Kin.4v1, 6v3: Dan.1v12-13).
xii. Someone who is a worshipper of God and carries out His will (Ex.14v31: Jn.9v31).

Servants are of various kinds and our goal here is to look at the various levels of servant-hood that we need
to exhibit.
1. A Household/Domestic Servant (menial servants, the Greek word is OIKETES): (Lk.16v13: Rom.14v4). This kind of servant serves only in the house. This is the scope of their work. This kind of servant is available for general use.
Have you entered into this dimension of service? Are you available for His use?

2. A Labourer: One who is hired by the day, week, or other terms and does not reside with the employer. Or if they abide in the same house and employed abroad and not in the domestic services (Matt.20v1, 8: 1Cor.3v9: 1Tim.5v18). The Hebrew equivalent for this word in the Old Testament is SAKIYR- a man at
wages by the day or year {a hired ‘man, servant’, hireling} (Deut.24v14: Lev.25v40, 50). This kind of servant is hired to fulfill a specific purpose or assignment. You need to enter into this dimension of service.
Are you a laborer in His vineyard? (Phil.2v25: 1Thes.3v2: Col.4v12).

3. An Apprentice: One who is bond for a term of years to serve a master for the purpose of learning his trade or occupation. Matt.10v24, 4v19: Acts4v13 (Disciples/Jesus): 2Kin.3v11 (Elijah/Elisha): 1Cor.16v10: Rom.16v21 (Paul/Timothy). This kind of servant is being trained/groomed to acquire special skills.
Have you entered into this dimension of service? Are you learning the art of ministry? (Prov.13v20: Acts18v24-28 (Priscilla and Aquila/Apollos).

4. A Waiter (Greek word is DIAKONOS): Someone who runs on errands, attendant, or a waiter at a table or in other menial duties (Rom.16v1 (Phoebe), 15v31: Jn.2v5, 9). This kind of servant waits on others i.e. carries out the wishes/desires of those they are serving.
Are you sendable? Are you a go-to kind of person? Are you reliable/dependable? (Isa.6v8: Eph.6v21-22: Col.4v8).

5. A Steward {Greek word is OIKONOMOS- a house-distributor i.e. manager or overseer i.e. an employee in that capacity, a fiscal agent (treasurer): a preacher of the gospel-chamberlain, governor}. (1Cor.4v1-2: Lk.12v42: 1Pet.4v10: Lk.16v1-3, 8: Tit.1v7). This kind of servant has been put in charge of certain things/work.
What has been committed to your hands? What are you overseeing and how are you doing it?

6. An Assistant {Greek word is HUPERETES- an under-oarsman i.e. subordinate (assistant, sexton, constable)- officer, minister} (Mk.14v54,65: Jn.18v36). This kind of servant is called to assist/support others in leadership. They are not pioneers but possess the grace to assist.
Are you willing to assist or struggling to lead? (1Chro.10v4-5: 1Sam.14v6).

7. A Slave, Bondman, or Bondservant (Greek word is DOULOS) in the sense of subjection, subserviency, or in Hebrew-EBED (Hebrew equivalent of this word slave). (Gal.1v10: Rom.1v1: Jn.13v16, 15v20: Matt.25v21, 23, 26). This kind of servant has willfully surrendered himself to the service of his MASTER. This is the highest form of servant-hood.
Are you living for him or for yourself? (Rom.14v8: Gal.2v20: Phil.2v17: Rom.15v1-2).