Today’s Reading: Genesis 24.
(Context: Abraham sends out his most trusted and responsible servant to find a wife for his son Isaac. He has the long and dreary task of travelling for perhaps months, back to Abraham’s family, in order to find a wife for Isaac from Abraham’s family. Well, the servant goes above and beyond the call of duty.)
When Abraham’s servant arrives in what is today modern Iraq, he arrives at Abraham’s home town. It is here that he asks God for special help, for he is looking for a wife, the very best wife, for his future master, Isaac. Most people can tell you that match-making is easy to do, but hard to apply. Sometimes “perfect fits” just don’t work out. You might think its perfect, but the person in question may not appeal to the person you are matching them to.
I find it curious that Abraham’s servant looks for one overarching quality: servanthood. I choose this word because I can’t think of a better one to define exactly what such a quality looks like. It includes humility, a hard-working nature, hospitality, and kindness towards that don’t expect it.
I suppose Abraham’s servant sat down under a shady tree, surrounded by stinky camels and the sweaty bodies of other servants. He was probably exhausted and hot. Yet his mission was clear: find the best woman for Isaac. Someone who Isaac could love, respect, and cherish. His plan was simple: find a woman who will 1. show kindness to a complete stranger, 2. offer him and the other servants water (scarce, and hard to retrieve from a well), and 3. give water to all the camels. I am sure you have heard that camels drink a lot of water. How much more camels who have been travelling days on end, from oasis to oasis, with days or even weeks in between?
This story has changed my perspective in looking for dependable and responsible people. Be it a wife, or a friend, or a coworker, or a teacher. Humility/Servanthood is not only crucial, it’s a central attribute to a Christian. Beyond that, the wife is called to be the “helper” of a man, the same term used to identify the Holy Spirit’s role in the Trinity. Therefore, this is not a chauvinist comment, but a statement about the vital importance of having humble, hard-working people that are willing to help others.
Today’s society has been heavily tainted by feminist extremism (much of what they teach is correct and useful, but some goes overboard), teaching that women are not only equal to men (correct), but that they supersede men on most levels. Men and women are equal yet different. We have different roles. Men were not made to have babies. Women were not meant to lead men. You don’t like that? Talk to God about it, I think he knows slightly more than our socially-acceptably-brainwashed culture cares to admit.
That said, humility and servanthood is a characteristic we must all strive to attain. Not only is the Holy Spirit a Christian’s helper on earth, Christ became as a slave for us and in our place, in order that we might have salvation. He gave everything He had, expecting nothing in return.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:4-8)
I appreciate this passage, even more-so because Rachel, Isaac’s future wife, passed the test. She welcomed the stranger, and she gave all of them water in abundance. This, above all else, sold Abraham’s servant as to her character. You see, humility is a learned trait, independence and pride are natural ones.
Are we willing to seek to become humble? Let us be like Jesus, let us be helpers before being leaders. In God’s book, only the humblest become the greatest.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)