DISCLAIMER: The thoughts that follow are my own. Please, feel free to correct and suggest revisions. I will be happy to take those into consideration. It is possible I am wrong and missed the boat on some critical aspect, gang.
For an exemplification of the Servant, see the above individual. For those of you who do not know, this is my wife, Pam.
Allow me to share a little bit of my relationship with Pam as an illustration of the strength of the Servant.
I had connected with Pam as a result of the destruction of my first marriage. My ex-wife and I had met Pam when we were part of a church in New England. Pam was teaching Sunday School and leading the Altar Ministry at the church. During this season, my first marriage was already in a very rocky place, due to some issues of friction between my first wife and I.
Following the finalizing of the dissolution of my first marriage (The same day as the Boston Bombing), Pam was the first one who challenged me to forgive my ex. She was teaching John Bevere’s Bait of Satan at the time, and I was living alone at the time.
I was having near-weekly conversations with David, a close friend of mine, following my divorce. He, along with my pastor, was helping me process my journey of healing. David and I were discussing whether or not I should marry again. We were discussing what his original thoughts were about my first marriage. I had several additional friends with whom I was connecting about this situation.
David made a perceptive comment during this season. He noted that some people are designed to heal better alone and in solitude, and some are designed to heal more readily in the context of community or a couple of good relationships. And he posed the following comment:
“David, you have always functioned better in community and relationship. It is possible that you could heal better in the context of marriage.”
This thought was unusual to me, because, as many of you know, if someone does not possess a certain sense/measure of wholeness before entering a marriage, then the marriage is only going to expose their flaws more quickly.
David further asserted that I was one of those people who was designed to be married in some unique sense. His precise words were, “marriage looks good on you.”
Now, sometime later, given I was having my sons on the weekends, Pam had begun to connect with me on the basis of the fact that she was raising her granddaughter and my sons had seemed to connect with her granddaughter and the three meshed together well.
One Sunday, she asked me if we could get together for our kids to have playdates. Our kids, on each of these times, meshed extremely well.
And during those times, we would talk about the Bible and the things of G-d. We talked about how we became believers, how we met Holy Spirit, what encounters with the L-rd we had had, and what strongholds we each had.
And we were very effective at calling each other’s junk out and minister life to one another. And the level of synch between us was nothing short of supernatural.
So, to make a long story short, Pam and I discovered that we were designed to be together. And during this time, as we were growing closer together, I was noticing that I was receiving a great deal of healing and capacity to walk in greater grace toward my ex-wife.
So, we married.
Pam, as a Servant, was a very good fit would provide a safe context in which I could dramatically heal. Others would certainly not have made as good of a fit. Without her in my life, it is not that I would have been a partial or incomplete person, but rather, i would not have as quickly been confronted with my own mess, nor would I have cleaned up my mess was quickly apart from met as together with her.
My wife is not known for putting up with junk, especially when it comes to offense and unforgivenness.
Honestly, I have absolutely zero regrets about marrying as soon as I did, to this woman.
So, now that I have rolled out that little vignette, what is it that makes Servants sparkle so darn much, not to mention so easy to be around? For a good answer to that question, read on.
Credits for the foundation for this material goes to momma Sandy Landry and Arthur Burk, though some of this is in my own words:
Characteristics of the Servant:
1) Servants are one of the more busy of the Redemptive Gifts. So much so, that their schedules can be one of the more packed. Because of this, they can overwork and overcommit themselves, in terms of packing more than probably should be fit into a given period of time.
2) Servants can be easily spotted for the many tasks they do in the background to ensure smooth flow of a multifacited operation. While their niche for accomplishing this can be very narrow, as with logistics and courier services, they will often do the tasks that no one notices in order to help move a process forward.
3) They love working to meet needs. Felt needs, emotional needs, clothing, food, shelter, transportation.
4) They excel in creating an atmosphere that is suitable for those who occupy it.
5) Servants excel in bringing cleansing to other people. It is an integral part of their makeup and heart to see dirty things made clean, and wrong situations made right. Because of this quality, they make excellent intercessors, and armorbearers for leaders.
6) Servants walk without agenda, and free from guile. They will give you an unvarnished viewpoint. That is, when Servants respond to a given situation, they will do so without considering using the situation to their advantage. Whereas other gifts sometimes may have an angle or a hidden reason for behaving in a certain way, with the Servant, there is no angle they are trying to work. The purity of intention and the love of just helping others to succeed without thinking of the day when they can call a favor or an IOU is part of their beauty.
7) Servants always look for the best in someone. Always, always, always, always. There is a violent objection in the Servant towards situations in which people are being insulted, treated with dishonor, made fun of, or taken advantage of. In the presence of one who is dishonored repeatedly, even when everyone else with a critical attitude can only see the worst in someone, Servants make it their job to hunt for SOMETHING good to say about someone else. It is their desire to extend honor to others, no matter how bleak the circumstances are.
8) On the other hand, while they seek to extend honor to others, they themselves are often the recipients of dishonor. They can become the butt of the jokes in the family, and if they have a low self-image, then they may take part in those jokes.
8) Because they love to create an atmosphere where people are comfortable to be, Servants can be recognized for what they are known for doing for others, which can come at the expense of their primary design.
9) The prime expression of the Servant gifting is in preparing spaces and environments where the King feels welcome to dwell. This will get overlooked if they are repeatedly tapped for secondary tasks of hospitality and cleanup and taking care of people. Our jobs in the other gifts is to liberate the Servant to engage in their highest expressions and greatest callings. If we liberate them, then we will benefit from stronger and greater expressions of both the L-rd’s Presence and the other gifts.
9) On a note that is related to how they care for creating comfortable habitats for others and the L-rd, Servants are magnificently adept at working with the physical ecology, the environment, the land, and non-human members of the animal kingdom (don’t shoot me for that last statement, it’s just an easy reference to the taxonomic structure found in modern biology).
Giving a snapshot of this at work, my wife and mother-in-law are the quintessential Servants, and both are very, VERY adept at enjoying and working with non-humans. My mother-in-law will communicate with our two cats and be able to read their body language in order to know what they want or are thinking.
My wife has set up a homey environment for the birds, squirrels, and furry woodland creatures in our neighborhood and at our last home, and the birds flourish wherever she is.
10) Servants have a remarkable loyalty to other members of their family.
11) Though they rarely get angry, the one area that will without exception inflame their ire is when someone mistreats a member of the family. They can handle being mistreated, but they will not handle their family being hurt or insulted.
12) Because they usually work in the background, they also usually are uncomfortable being in the limelight. They love helping others succeed and will rarely give thought to to their own success.
13) As a result of not thinking about themselves, the imbalanced or unhealthy Servant can develop a Saviour mentality, a victim mentality, and the mindset of an enabler.
14) As a result of their incessant helping of others without thinking about themselves, Servants need someone who will care for them and advocate for them to receive what they need. They might need a sounding board to make sure they are cared for themselves. They need someone else who, with a healthy mindset, knows when they are overextending themselves, and be willing to remind them of those occasions. They definitely need someone who will extend honor to them, and help provide a measure of protection to their calling, giftings, skills, schedule, and ministry.
15) Servants are a safe place for others who need to heal, especially those who are prickly and wounded. They are what we call “porcupine huggers”. A good example of this sort of ministry is in the man Ananias, who ministered to Saul of Taursus. They go and deal with the hard cases. They have a unique quality and vitality to go the distance when it comes to persevering for the redemption of the difficult people that no one else will work with.
Besides Ananias and my wife, other examples of Servants are Robert E. Lee and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
So, those are my thoughts.
I would love to hear from y’all. Agree? Disagree? Help add some color to this post.
Appreciate your comments and willingness to chip in.