Weekly Sabbath Survey
Are You a Doulos? — 4-26-2014
In industrialized nations around the world, it seems (to me) we have come to a strange place in the process of ever-morphing and refining organized Christianity. Much of the pop doctrine today is about how kind and gentle God is. How He wants to bless us, heal us, make us comfortable. It a gospel about how He sent Jesus so that we should never suffer a “rainy day.” Nuthin’ but blue skies smilin’ at me, sort of a thing. It is no longer about God’s majesty, His mighty power, His extreme holiness. It isn’t about Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us so that we could be saved from our sins and enter eternal life. It is more about us.
This teaching tells us we can demand blessing with an ‘in your face boldly to the throne’ list of what all we want from Him. Where is our humility before the Master of the Universe? What has gotten ahold of us that we walk in such PRIDE and SELF? We are comfortable doing things that got people in the Bible stoned. Radical obedience to Him is gone as we pray for bigger houses and lavish vacations in exotic locales. No summer visit to Grandma’s for us Super Christians.
The word ‘servant’ in our Bibles brings to mind a snooty English butler, or the woman who cleans house for us — a person hired and paid to do a service. But the bitter Bible truth is that it was much more like the institution of slavery in Europe and the U.S. in which Africans were sold to white men by their fellow Africans to become slaves. Of course, over time babies born to slaves were automatically slaves. They knew nothing else and were put to work at an early age. Any family of means with a large business or farms, had slaves. It was an ‘old as time’ part of society. The Bible even makes provision for slaves being treated humanely.
There was one kind of servant among the Jewish people of the Bible, called a Doulos. These were slaves the master had a special fondness for or who had been in the household many years. The master would give this person the opportunity to go free. Many chose to have their freedom and left. (The Scriptures tell us a time came when many went back from following Jesus our Master.) The ones who left didn’t want the strict rules, didn’t want to be bound by the extreme devotion the master required. They chose freedom over obedience. But a few chose to stay behind with the master. They could not imagine themselves apart from him and his family. For their great love of him, they put their ear on the door post, and the master took hammer and nail and pierced the earlobe. They had their ‘ear opened’, and received the earring of the Doulos servant of this great man. The word Doulos means a bond servant, meaning to tie, to bind, to be knit together. These Doulos people were adopted and considered part of the master’s family. They received inheritance with his blood kin. Abraham’s servant Eliezer was a Doulos. (Exodus 15:2, 24:2)
At the age of 33, I had the same offer from the Lord as those slaves in the story above. I could become a Doulos, have the “ear” of my understanding opened. I would learn what it means to say, “I don’t belong to myself, I have been bought with the blood of Jesus.” I knew it was something I would never un-do. This was for life. At that time, I didn’t fully know what this all meant, but I knew it was a different kind of Christianity than I had been living for years. It would be like that song, “Just a closer walk with Thee.”
Later, I learned about the Doulos from my very first mentor. I felt such joy when she told me, knowing that this had already happened to me. She also told me now that my ear was opened, I would be hearing from Him like I never did before. She was oh-so-right about that part! Being bound and tied to Jesus is the most liberating experience I have ever known.
But this freedom comes with a price. You are no longer like the rest of the gang; you are in a different category now. Jesus warned us to count the cost before making such an extreme commitment. If you should grow restless and unhappy, you may run away, but His Spirit will find you, no matter how far you go. He will always give you the chance, the urge, to come back home to Him. He will be looking up the road, waiting for you like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him, to show to His Doulos things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified by His spirit unto His Doulos, John: Rev. 1:1
Charlene Reams Manning