Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Faithful Servant

Leslie Basham: [Sigh] Do you have some boring tasks on your to-do list today? Well, they may be more important than you think. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You never know—when you’re doing the least little assignment—if it’s what God has given you to do, you have no idea what may be all the implications down the road of your faithfulness.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, June 5, 2015.

Nancy's continuing in the series, "Serving Like the Savior."

Nancy: Once again, today we’re really blessed and privileged to have some young women from Cross Gate Christian Academy with us sitting in on this series. We’re so glad you’re here today.

I think it’s especially timely that you would be here as we’re talking about the passage we’re in today (Genesis chapter 24), as we’re looking at a young woman in the process of being selected to be someone’s wife. I know that most of you young women hope someday to be someone’s wife.

There are some really fabulous things—principles and insights here in Genesis 24—that I think will be a blessing to you as you think about God’s future for you in relation to marriage. But this is a passage that relates to all of us.

Now, just to reset here. We’ve been talking in the last session about Abraham’s servant (whose name we believe to have been Eleazar) that Abraham sent back to the country, the city where Abraham had come from, 450 miles away, and said go find a bride for my son, Isaac. The servant, who was by now an old man (he had served Abraham faithfully for fifty years), immediately went to do what he was asked. He took the whole entourage—ten camels and all the servants—to go and find a bride for Isaac.

We said that Eleazar was a picture of a servant, a faithful servant. He prayed and he said, “Lord, grant me success in this undertaking. Here’s what I’m going to ask” (Gen. 24:12 paraphrased). He kind of put out a fleece in a sense.

He said, “I’m going to say to a young woman who comes up to get water at the well here, let down your jar that I may drink. If this young woman says to me not only can you have a drink, but I will also water your camels for you, let her be the one that you have chosen for Isaac’s wife. By this I will know that you have shown steadfast love to my master” (Gen. 24:14 paraphrased).

So there in Genesis 24:14, we see that the number one qualification that Eleazar was looking for in this bride for Isaac was that she would have a servant’s heart. That she would not just do what she was asked to do, but she would be willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. Let’s move on in this passage and see what happened in response to Eleazar’s prayer.

Verse 15, “Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother . . .” That’s a long way of saying that this gal, Rebekah, was Abraham’s nephew’s daughter. Okay. I had to think that through kind of carefully yesterday as I was working on this.

Abraham’s nephew had a daughter named Rebekah. This girl, Rebekah, came out with a water jar on her shoulders. She came to the well. Of course, Eleazar didn’t know who she was. There were a lot of women coming to the well to draw water at that point, but he singled her out. He had already asked God to direct him. Now he had to trust that God really was directing him.

Verse 16 tells us that the young woman was very attractive in appearance. Now, for some people that would be good enough. She’s good looking! What else matters?

I want to tell you that when the good looks start to fade and the hair starts to turn gray and the wrinkles start to happen and the—well, you know some of the other things that happen as you get older. There’s a whole lot more that is important than good looks. As you get older, there are some qualities that are a lot more enduring than physical beauty.

There's nothing wrong with physical beauty; but this servant, Eleazar, was wise enough to know that it wasn’t sufficient that she be attractive physically. She was very attractive, and she was a maiden whom no man had known. So she was eligible to be married, but he wanted more than that.

She went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up. Now, let me just insert here. The real story in Genesis chapter 24, is the providential guidance and provision and care of God. God’s the key player in this story, but Rebekah is one of the players that God uses in this whole story, as is Eleazar.

As Rebekah’s story unfolds later in Genesis, we’ll see that she definitely has her faults and flaws. She’s by no means a perfect woman, but I think her actions in this account (Genesis chapter 24) illustrate what it means to have a servant’s heart.

Verses 17–21,

Then the servant [Eleazar] ran to meet her and said, "Please give me a little water to drink from your jar." She said, "Drink, my lord." And she quickly let down her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, "I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking." So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels. The man gazed at her in silence to learn whether the LORD had prospered his journey or not.

I mean, this is an incredible story! Let me say again to you young women as you think about who God may have for you to marry someday—can I just encourage you that you can trust God to direct your steps? If you trust Him, He will lead you. Now, He’s probably not going to do it in the way it happened with Rebekah, but as you make this a matter of prayer, know that you can trust God with this.

You do not have to figure this out yourself. You do not have to run out and find a husband, find a man. You can wait on the Lord and . . . Rebekah’s going to the well this day; she has no idea what she’s going to encounter! But God knows. God has it all planned, and you can trust God as you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing at that moment.

What she was supposed to be doing at that moment was getting water, drawing water from the well. She was just faithfully doing what God had given her to do. In the process, God moved into her life to bring this story together, to bring her together with Isaac. I love seeing God’s providence and His hand like that and know that you can trust Him.

So what qualities do you see of a servant’s heart in this young woman? First of all, I noticed in the verses we just read, you saw the word quickly twice. Quickly, she let down her jar. Quickly, she emptied her jar. She ran to the well to draw water. Here’s a woman who’s not dragging her feet. She’s not lazy. She’s not slothful. She’s asked to do something and she moves. She does it.

Again, let me ask, as you serve in your home, as you serve in your school, as you serve in your workplace, do you move? Do you do it when you’re asked to do something, or do you drag around. I’ll get around to it when I feel like getting around to it. Part of a servant’s heart is that you move. When I say quickly, I don’t mean you have to be in a hurry, but you do it right away.

Eleazar noticed this fact because later in the story, in verse 46, when he’s telling this whole story to her family, he points out this detail—that she had moved quickly. So he noticed. He’s looking. Is this the kind of wife that Isaac should have? He notices that she’s quick to serve.

She takes initiative. Verse 19, “I will draw water for your camels also.” Nobody asked her to do that, but she took initiative to do something more than what she was asked to do. Some of us don’t mind serving as long as we can just do the minimum required.

Let me ask you—around your home, do you just do the minimum required? Or do you say, "Is there more I could do?" Is there something else I could do to serve, to be a blessing? She goes above and beyond what was required of her.

Now, that culture in the Middle East required that they show hospitality to strangers. But it did not require that she be hospitable to the camels. That was not required. She did more than she was asked. She was generous. She was ungrudging in serving. She was kind to strangers. She was a hard worker. That’s part of having a servant’s heart.

How many camels did Eleazar have with him? Ten. I read in one commentary yesterday that a thirsty camel—one thirsty camel—who’s been on a long journey can drink up to forty gallons of water. She had to draw all this water by hand—up to maybe 400 gallons of water. She watered all these camels.

You see another quality in the life of this woman who has a servant’s heart. She serves with no expectation of reward or gain or what she’s going to get out of it. Now, she did end up getting some jewelry and a husband out of it, but she didn’t know that on the front end.

In the long run, servants will always be honored. Faithful servants. But you don’t serve for the honor. You serve just for the honor of serving, of doing what you’ve been called to do. She got the reward after she had served.

Verses 22–24,

When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels and said, "Please tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?" She said to him, "I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor." She added, "We have plenty of both straw and fodder, and room to spend the night."

So here’s another quality in this woman. A quality of a servant’s heart. She’s kind. She’s hospitable. She’s opening her home. She knows that her family will welcome this stranger, and she’s quick to reach out and say, “You are welcome.” Now, to have company drop in—and remember this wasn’t just Eleazar. This was his whole entourage—ten camels, and that means there were some other servants with them as well.

This is going to be . . . You don’t just have ten camels and a bunch of servants drop by your house for dinner and that be an easy thing, but she’s got a servant’s heart. When you have a servant’s heart, you’ll figure out how to do it. Your thought is, How can I be kind? How can I minister to the needs of the people involved? This woman demonstrates that. Eleazar realizes that God has made this expedition successful.

So, verses 26–28, it says,

The man bowed his head and worshiped the LORD and said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the LORD has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen." Then the young woman ran and told her mother’s household about these things.

Rebekah had a brother whose name was Laban. Now, he comes in in a big way later in the story, but skip down now to verse 32.

So the man [that is the servant, Eleazar] came to the house and unharnessed the camels, and gave straw and fodder to the camels, and there was water to wash his feet and the feet of the men who were with him. Then food was set before him to eat.

I bet this was one meal he was really ready to enjoy! Mission accomplished! We’ve arrived at our destination. It appears that the Lord has directed me to the woman who should be the wife for Isaac. But he said, “I’ve got to do something before I eat.” He may have been famished. He may have been ready for this great home-cooked meal.

But he said, "I will not eat until I have said what I have to say." And his host said, "Speak on." (v. 33)

So Eleazar, who’s also the servant we’re seeing in this passage, stays focused on his purpose. He doesn’t forget why he’s there. He keeps his eye on the ball, and he’s committed to fulfill his mission—his assignment. He believes God has led him to the right woman, but she doesn’t know yet why he’s there. She hasn’t agreed to this yet. Until all this is settled, he says, “I’ve got to stay focused. I can’t get sidetracked.”

So, verse 34, he said, “I am Abraham’s servant,” and he begins to tell his story to Rebekah’s family. Again, how does he identify himself? Not who he is, but who he serves. He knows his position. He knows his place. His job is not for them to remember who he is or to promote himself even though he is the senior chief of staff of Abraham’s household. He’s promoting his master. It’s not his agenda. It’s his master’s agenda. And all this servant is doing is trying to fulfill his master’s wishes.

As I was studying this passage earlier this week, I was reminded of that passage in the gospel of John where John the Baptist said of the Lord Jesus, “He’s the great One. I’m not the one who fulfilled these Old Testament promises. I’m just called to witness about Him. It doesn’t matter if you know who I am. You need to behold Him. He must increase, and I must decrease." That’s the heart of a servant.

I’m the Lord’s servant. Nancy Leigh DeMoss. That name doesn’t matter. What I do, who I am, what my plans are, what my agenda is—that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I serve the Lord and that He gets the credit and the glory and the increase.

So, beginning in verse 35 through verse 48, the servant tells Rebekah’s family the whole story: why he’s there; the mission he’s on; how he had prayed; what had just taken place at the well. Then he says in verse 49—skip down there,

Now then, if you are going to show steadfast love and faithfulness to my master, tell me. And if not, tell me. Then I may turn to the right hand or to the left.

It’s like, “I’m not even going to stay for dinner if this isn’t the place I’m supposed to be. My mission is not to eat. My mission is to find a bride for Isaac. That’s what I’m here to do. I need to know—are you going to let her go with me? The only reason I’m here is to fulfill my master’s direction.”

Isn’t it easy to get sidetracked sometimes—to forget what we’re supposed to be doing and why we’re here? So many Christians I know—and myself at times also—we just kind of drift through life doing whatever fun thing or interesting thing or whatever’s on our program, whatever is on our agenda. And we forget—what is it that God has called me to do at this season of life?

If you’re a mom, God has called you to mother those children. If you’re a wife, God has called you to bless and serve and fulfill the needs of your husband, to be a keeper of your home. That’s God’s calling. When you do that, you are serving the Lord. Don’t get distracted. I know a lot of wives who spend a lot of time doing things that steal the time from their husband and their children. They forget what they’re called to do.

We have a number of girls here today who are students. If you’re a student right now, that is God’s calling in your life. Don’t get sidetracked. Now, it doesn’t mean you don’t do anything else during your high school years, but God’s called you to be a student—to be faithful at it. That’s how you serve the Lord.

If you’re a daughter in your home, God’s called you to be a blessing to your parents, to your siblings. You say, “Who wants to do that?” God’s servant does. That’s how you experience blessing in your life—by fulfilling whatever God has given you to do at that season of your life.

Well, verses 50–51,

Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, "The thing has come from the LORD; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Behold, Rebekah is before you; take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the LORD has spoken."

Now, when you first read that passage, you may wonder, Are they just trying to get rid of this girl? Like, “Take her, leave, go!” I don’t think that’s it at this point. I think they just recognize, as Eleazar has told this story, there is no question that God’s in this. There’s no question that God has been leading—that God has providentially brought you here today. What can we say? God’s in it. So that’s what you need to do.

When Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the earth before the LORD. . . . And he and the men who were with him ate and drank, and they spent the night there. When they arose in the morning, he said, "Send me away to my master."

[It’s time to get going. ] Her brother and her mother said, "Let the young woman remain with us a while, at least ten days; after that she may go." But he [Eleazar] said to them, "Do not delay me, since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master" (vv. 52–56).

Do you see how determined this man is to fulfill that which he was sent to do? He could have enjoyed a nice ten-day vacation there in Mesopotamia—a trip away from home, good food. He said, “That’s not what I’m here to do. I was sent on a mission. I’m determined not to get sidetracked from fulfilling my mission. There’s no reason to hang around here any longer. I need to get back to my master.”

So, verses 57–58,

They said, "Let us call the young woman and ask her." And they called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" She said, "I will go."

So here’s a young woman who is willing to leave everything: her country, her family, her parents, her siblings. She’s ready to leave it all and go with this man that she just met the day before to marry a man that she has never met—450 miles away! Now, let me just say to you young women, you’d better know that God’s in it before you do something like that. But this was clear that God had led in this—that God was behind it. And she said, “I’m a servant. I go. That’s my calling. I’m ready. I will go.”

So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men. . . . Then Rebekah and her young women arose and rode on the camels and followed the man. Thus the servant took Rebekah and went his way (vv. 59, 61).

So both Rebekah and Eleazar throughout this passage demonstrate the heart of a servant—a servant’s heart. In verses 62 through 67, you see that they return home to where Abraham lives. Isaac and Rebekah marry. Mission accomplished! The servant has fulfilled the mission for which he was sent. He hasn’t stopped until his assignment was completed, and then Eleazar moves out of the picture. You never hear from him again. You never read about him again. He has fulfilled his mission as a servant.

His mission was not to get written down in the history books. It was not to make a name for himself. His purpose was really key because Rebekah, by marrying Isaac, became a key woman in the whole redemptive plan of God to bring the Messiah who would ultimately come out of this family line.

You never know—when you’re doing the least little assignment—if it’s what God has given you to do, you have no idea what may be all the implications down the road of your faithfulness. When you faithfully serve in whatever sphere of life’s situation—season of life—God has put you—when you serve faithfully, you don’t know how—maybe months or years or even generations from now—your children, your grandchildren, their children may reap blessings because of your faithful obedience.

So in Eleazar we see a picture of that first Greek word we used several days ago: doulos, a servant. He served his master as we serve our Master. Served faithfully for a lifetime of service.

Then in Rebekah we see, I think, a picture of that other Greek word we learned: diakonos, serving to minister to the needs of others. This young woman—by having a servant’s heart, being quick to serve, observant about needs, initiating, saying, “What can I do to help? What can I do to serve?”—by serving Eleazar (this total stranger)—in this way proved herself fit to be a good wife—to be the wife of Isaac. That was the qualification that Eleazar was looking for.

That’s the qualification God’s looking for in us as women. Do you have a servant’s heart? Are you a doulos of the Lord God—His bondservant? And do you diakonos—are you serving to minister to the needs of those around you? That’s what makes for true greatness.

Leslie: You probably have a chance for some true greatness today. The opportunities to serve seem to be endless sometimes. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been offering some important perspective about serving with the right heart attitude.

I know our listeners are hearing our current series, “Serving Like the Savior,” while they are serving in various ways. I hope the program is a daily reminder to do everything the Lord has called you to do with all your heart and for His glory.

If you appreciate the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, would you help us continue providing the program online and on the radio?

When you support the ministry with a gift of any size, we’ll send you a book Nancy wrote—one of her core messages. It’s called Surrender: The Heart God Controls.

She’ll help you see what it’s like to say “yes, Lord,” day by day, moment by moment, surrendering to God’s will and being His servant. She’ll show you how to make surrender a way of life.

You can donate online and get more information about the book, Surrender. Or ask for it when you call 1–800–569–5959. We’ll send one book per household with your donation.

Next week on Revive Our Hearts, Nancy talks about the One person who was the greatest servant ever.

Nancy: Philippians 2 says, "Being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Why does Jesus go and die as a martyr? Was does He go and voluntarily give up His life to die a criminal's death? To die in shame? And reproach? And amidst scoffing and laughter and ridicule? Why does He do it? Because He is a servant. He's a servant of the Lord. And He's a servant of God's people.

He came not to be served but to serve. You say, "If I serve the way everybody around me wants me to serve, it will kill me." You know what? It probably won't. But if it does, you will die following in the steps of the One who laid down His life.

He calls us to die—die to our own reputation and our own rights and our own desires and our own plans. "I want somebody around here to serve me!" starts to be our thought, especially in our homes.

Leslie: Please be back next week for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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