Updated: May 10
"And the servant told Isaac all the things he had done." (Gen.24:66)
Call him a servant with a good report and deliverables, and you are not far from the truth. Call him a servant with a heart of gold, you are right. Our text is a simple successful wrap up of a seemingly daunting task, going by the events that incubated the entire episode. It's the narrative of the commitment and faithfulness of Abraham's oldest servant, to the assignment his master committed into his hands. It was a story that meant so much to the legendary father of faith in his last days that it occupied Genesis 24, in its entirety. Having an insight into the daunting task at hand probably informed the choice Abraham made:"the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had." (Gen.24:2). Undoubtedly, this servant, on his part, has had enough mastery of what it took to be dogged and successful on such herculean tasks, long before now. Little wonder, he was a perfect fit for such. At the end, he justified his choice.
In the meantime, Biblical scholars have identified the 'unnamed' servant as Eliezer of Damascus (Gen.15:2). The name Eliezer means "God is my help."
This is one narrative that challenges us believers in our contemporary times, in terms of submission, obedience, and cooperation even to higher authorities as it relates to the things of the kingdom. In other words, it beats one's imagination that this character was not only selfless on this assignment, he was equally faithful, loyal, and unyielding even to the temptation of eating, until he accomplished his mission. He said, "I will not eat until I have told about my errand."(Gen.24:33). To say he was even doing everything with no human or technological supervision or tracking, takes his loyalty and commitment to another level.
From the moment Abraham made him swear an oath, right after his commissioning "please put your hand under my thigh" (Gen.24:2b), he upheld the sanctity of the covenant. He ran with the vision, focussed and eschewed distractions or personal aggrandizement. He did all with utmost sincerity of heart. He loved his job and brought in all the dignity it required not only to be fulfilled, but also to ultimately satisfy the need of his octogenarian master. He knew a blessing was awaiting him, doing this. A blessing much more than material acquisition. He was on target for what money could not buy. Hence, he never would remain a servant ! No!
Laying this account in parallel with the narrative of our 'one-talent' servant in Mt.25:24-30, (Parable Of The Talents), we see apparent distinct and obvious contrasts between the duo. While the former was on a journey of 'risk' and 'uncertainty', coupled with vagaries of weather, wild animals, highway robbers, and other untoward happenings, with no possible help in sight, in case of any of such eventualities, he remained undaunted, and focussed. By sheer determination he delivered at the end of the day. The latter, right under the comfort of the master's roof, was lazy, judgemental and wasted resources, and lost out of ample opportunities of investments. He also missed out on big opportunities to learn, unlearn, and re-learn. At the end of the day, he lost virtually everything invested in him. His soul was not spared either. There are servants and there are servants! By implications, this tells us that too much comfort could be a risk to our productivity as a servant / steward. Friends, the question at this point is 'what type of servant are you and I' ? Are we embracing legitimate opportunities and privileges that our 'servanthood' or calling is thrusting on us? Are we seeing each challenge as opportunity to learn a lesson or a new thing ? To unlearn: jettisoning old, crude, and ungodly behaviors and attitudes? Are we even ready to learn afresh from the ones we consider below our status? Are we being judgemental of the ONE that has called us to assignment or idling away the precious seed He has deposited in us? Are we using our 'exalted' offices and positions to suppress the less-privilege or subordinates? There's a day of reckoning and it's just at hand!
Eliezer, from the moment he left his master's house on this family assignment, stood out in several ways. Some of the rare acts of loyalty he put up, include:
He committed his master more into prayers than he did for himself (Gen.24:12, 26, 42, & 48). He prayed, " O LORD God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham." (Gen.24:12). (How much do we pray for our earthly superiors?).
He did not play pranks in the master's absence and neither did he play smart with God. He consiously dissociated himself from the usual human out-of-sight, out-of-mind syndrome. (How often do we get tasks done with little or no supervision?)
He did not look or search wife for Isaac in the brothels or night club. He painstakingly took his time, and in prayers too, to look for the best maiden for Isaac "let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac." (Gen.24:14). (Do we always offer the best of us to the LORD?)
He refused to be tempted by the sumptuous meal offered him in Rebekah's house, "I will not eat until I have told about my errand." (Gen.24:33). Food, at times , can be a bane of destiny fulfillment. It destroys when taken at the wrong time. Ask the young and vibrant prophet in 1Kgs.13. Think of brother Esau as well. ( How do we prioritize food?)
Above all, he considered even Isaac, his master. He was not selected in service and sense of humility. He remained humbled to Isaac as he did to the father, addressing Isaac as his master, "It is my master." (Gen.24:65). (Do we discriminate within the fold?)
In all, Eliezer of Damascus, from the foregoing, is a man of good conduct , character and disposition. It takes a servant with such qualities to achieve this lofty and monumental feat, even in the absence of his master. Not even when it was obvious that no monetary gratification was involved in the package. Promise of material items was conspicuously void as well. Nevertheless, the grace of God bestowed on him, a pertinent quality needed by all servants that yearn for success in their callings. That quality is FAITHFULNESS . The scripture says "moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful." (1 Cor.4:2). To be required means A MUST HAVE. AN UNAVOIDABLE NEED . A NECESSARY NEED. Being faithful in this context is relative. This simply means that a faithful servant embraces faithfulness in all its interpretations. True faithfulness is not selective. Rather, it is all embracing...in timing, accuracy, attendance, holistic obedience, promptness, selfless, trust, commitment, precision. Eliezer had it all even in his lowly status. All these were lacking in the life of the "unprofitable servant' in Mt.25. And if we choose to NOT be faithful, we serve a Father who is Faithful. "He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." (2 Tim.2:13). And if our Master is faithful, then we need to fulfill that requirement.
Beloved, the posers for us here include, how much faithfulness do we have in us, as servants? How accountable are we to He that has called us? And to what He has assigned to us to oversee? What are we doing to improve and make better, the process and the people under us? How committed are we to our callings? How teachable are we, or better still, are we selective in our teachability? What a beauty to borrow a leaf from Eliezer! With no iota of doubt, he's NOT going to remain a servant forever! He undoubtedly fulfilled ministry. Hence, there's a higher ground for him, "for you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you a ruler over many things."(Mt.25:23).
"I'm Pressing On The Upward Way, New Heights I'm Gaining Everyday,
Still Praying As I'm Onward Bound,
LORD, Plant My feet On Higher Ground."
LORD, Lift Me Up, And Let Me Stand,
By Faith On Heaven's Table Land,
A Higher Plane Than I Have Found,
LORD, Plant My Feet On Higher Ground. (Author: Johnson Oatman).
Help us, O LORD!
LORD, help me to be faithful to Your cause.
LORD, help me to be faithful to my calling and that which You have entrusted to me.
LORD, take me to a higher level of commitment.
LORD, let me enter the joy that is for Your faithful servants. Amen!
Olusegun A Emosu
The Redeemed Christian Church Of God,
1879, S Stonemountain Lithonia Rd,
Lithonia GA 30058
404 644 4127
April 28th, 2023.