Serving the Master Well

St. Paul well in Tarsus. 


Scripture:

And he said, “O LORD, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. I am standing here by the spring of water, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. Let the girl to whom I shall say, ‘Please offer your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.”
(Gen. 24:12–14 NRSV)

Observation:

This is the story of the servant, sent by his master Abraham, to find a wife for Abraham’s son. In this passage the servant invokes the “master” on numerous occasions. There is no question whom he is serving. His entire mission is done on behalf of his master and the focus is on doing this work well. 

The servant is incredibly wise as he lifts up this prayer to the the LORD, God of his master. The servant has come to know and understand the heart of his master and realizes that a young woman must fit into the master’s household. His prayer reflects this knowledge because he knows that his master is extremely generous and hospitable. Against the common response of human nature, he prays for a young woman who will share her water, and then go the extra mile by watering the camels as well. 

God’s love for Abraham will be revealed in providing a young woman who will have a heart like the master’s, ready to reflect the family values by the way in which she lives her life. 

Application:

The focused way in which this servant serves the master ought to be a lesson for us all. We are all called to serve our Master, but to do so, means we must come to know the LORD well. The servant knew the heart of his master so well, that he knew exactly how to pray. We are invited into this kind of an intimate relationship with the LORD, dwelling in God’s presence day in and day out, so much so, that we begin to know and understand the desires of God’s heart.

When we know the desires of God’s heart, then we know how to pray. The servant wasn’t just sending out a random fleece, there was great intentionality in his prayer. He knew what the master needed, and so he prayed for it directly. Do we know what it is that God needs? Would we know how to pray for that need directly? I think those are challenging questions for us because the ability to pray is directly related to our intimacy with the Lord. 

The servant was able to serve well because he knew and understood the master’s needs. Success in the eyes of the world is not necessarily faithful service to God. Far too often we fail to understand the ways of God and we may find ourselves praying for the wrong things — or not even praying at all. We run out to do the master’s work, often without getting instructions from the master. 

What if the servant had brought back the wrong girl? All of history would have been altered because of the choices of a servant. Probably the most important decision in this story is not the girl, but the selection of a faithful servant to do the work of the master. God is still looking for faithful servants who will serve the Master well. In great humility, and often without the leading role, the faithful servant seeks the well-being of the Master. As a result, all of history takes on a particular dimension in which God is glorified. 

Prayer:

Lord, my heart’s desire is to serve my Master well. Please, help me to know your heart today. Amen. 

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