Spiritual Disciplines: The Holy Habit of Service (@longingtobeholy)

Yes, this one really is considered a spiritual discipline 🙂  Obadiah’s pretty short (the book, not the guy – I can’t find a record of his height anywhere…)  But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I love names.  Obadiah means, ‘One who serves the Lord’.  What a name.  And I find myself wondering if the name could be appropriately applied to me.  And I guiltily conclude that the answer is probably ‘not much’, or at least, ‘not enough’.  But it’s not just Obadiah’s name that calls me to service, the book can have the same effect.

image by Tim Coleman http://www.theworshipcloud.com/view/images/servant

imae by Tim Coleman http://www.theworshipcloud.com/view/images/servant

Obadiah is a book that reminds us that God is in charge.  It starts with a message to the nations – a directive.  God commands people.  In our world, it’s easy to question whether God’s in charge.  It’s also easy to put ourselves in charge of our own little ‘principality’, but if we’re willing to serve someone, it’s best to serve the one who commands nations – the one who is sovereign.

Obadiah also reminds us that a day is coming when we are called to account (15).  Things are not looking rosy for the Edomites when this day comes, Obadiah warns.  When we place ourselves in the service of someone, it would be wise to choose one whose standard is clear and to follow the call of the one who will call us to account.  The truth will out, pride and wickedness will be punished.  Are we in the service of the one who will judge us?

Finally, Obadiah reminds us that God will win.  God is not battling against the odds.  He does not even have merely a ‘good chance of success’.  No, God will triumph.  There is no getting away from it.  Are we servants of the one who has already been crowned the victor?

I grew up in Pakistan, and while there, we had servants.  When I use the term ‘servant’ in this country to describe the people who worked for us through my childhood, it tends to arouse alarm (as I suspect many of you experienced when you read that last sentence).  ‘Servant’ has pejorative connotations.  Somehow, the assumption is that a servant is something of a lesser mortal – servanthood somehow seems to suggest a lower caste to people here in the UK.  But surely a servant is merely one who serves.  And we are called, like Obadiah, to serve.  This too, can have negative connotations in our society.  Why submit yourself to the will of another?  But we are called to serve not just anybody, but the God who is in charge, who will call us to account and who will triumph.

What does this mean in the digital sphere.  I’d simply pose the question that got me thinking in the first place, ‘Would people look at me and think I’m a servant of God?’ or would they see me as a pretty regular person like anyone else they might meet online.  The things I say and do online will probably make it obvious who’s in charge of my life.  Who is it?

About Nick Parish

Nick is a stay at home Dad who’s slowly learning that this fact doesn’t need to be justified by adding things like, ‘I’m writing a book’, and ‘I’m a Special Constable with Derbyshire Police’ (though both these facts are true…) He is heavily outnumbered by girls during term time, living in a boarding school in the Midlands. He grew up (ish) in Pakistan, returning to England at the age of 14. Though he’s happy to think of both places at home, he keeps reminding himself that he’ll never really be home this side of eternity. He is married to Anna, who runs the boarding house in which they live, and they have two boys, Joshua and Luke. He blogs at longingtobeholy.wordpress.com and Tweets @longingtobeholy