Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows.
Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I
reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.
C.S. Lewis in "Equality" from Present Concerns, quoted
in Christianity Today, February 3, 1989, p. 31.
"Servant" in our English New Testament usually represents the Greek doulos
(bondslave). Sometimes it means diakonos (deacon or minister); this is strictly accurate,
for doulos and diakonos are synonyms. Both words denote a man who is not at his own
disposal, but is his master's purchased property. Bought to serve his master's needs, to
be at his beck and call every moment, the slave's sole business is to do as he is told.
Christian service therefore means, first and foremost, living out a slave relationship to
one's Savior (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
What work does Christ set his servants to do? The way that they serve him, he tells
them, is by becoming the slaves of their fellow-servants and being willing to do literally
anything, however costly, irksome, or undignified, in order to help them. This is what
love means, as he himself showed at the Last supper when he played the slave's part and
washed the disciples' feet.
When the New Testament speaks of ministering to the saints, it means not primarily
preaching to them but devoting time, trouble, and substance to giving them all the
practical help possible. The essence of Christian service is loyalty to the king
expressing itself in care for his servants (Matt. 25: 31-46).
Only the Holy Spirit can create in us the kind of love toward our Savior that will
overflow in imaginative sympathy and practical helpfulness towards his people. Unless the
spirit is training us in love, we are not fit persons to go to college or a training class
to learn the know-how or particular branches of Christian work. Gifted leaders who are
self-centered and loveless are a blight to the church rather than a blessing.
James Packer, Your Father Loves You,
Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.