Can we be Servants in an Individualistic Culture?

This pastoral passage was written for LRBC for April 8 2018.

A while back my wife Rachael and I watched the Netflix series called The Crown, which dramatizes the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II in the 1950’s-1960’s. One thing that has particularly struck me (especially in season 1 episode 7 if you want to go have a look) is the nature of service that is displayed by various characters working in the palace. The ‘better’ servants and members of the royal family knew that their life wasn’t about themselves, but rather about whoever it was they served.

Watching this got me thinking about the way we think about service today. I wonder if we, even though we call ourselves followers of Christ the King, know how to live as servants of a king. Here’s what I’m getting at: I think we serve Christ, and try to do so as best we can, but do so as it suits our own plans and conveniences. Of course, we aren’t normally given daily instructions from him on what we should be doing on any given day. But I don’t think we are so used to faithful and unhesitating service, that if we were given some sort of order from him that disrupted our plans or directed us out of our comfort zones, that we would be ready and willing to do it immediately.

The individualist aspect of our culture trains us to assume that life revolves around ourselves. It doesn’t. If we are lucky we will realise that life doesn’t work if it orbits solely around ourselves – that we must order our lives to willingly work around our vocations, communities, families and friends in need. If we are wise, we will embrace that and become terrific employees and wives and husbands and parents and friends. If we are godly, we will project this lesson into how we view ourselves as servants to Christ.

Let us say: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening…”