And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. Deuteronomy 34:5
After these things, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten. Joshua 24:29
The descriptive phrase “servant of the Lord” is used of very few people in the Scriptures. Moses was the first to have this said about him and it became synonymous with him when describing his leadership. It is used 16 times to refer to this leader who served God in his leadership for forty years.
His successor, Joshua has the same phrase said of him and his leadership. It is used of Joshua twice – both times in describing him after he died (Joshua 24 and Judges 2). David also has this phrase describing him twice – found in Psalm 18 and 86. The final people described as servants of the Lord were the prophets of God killed by the evil Jezebel in 2 Kings 9.
A slightly different phrase with similar meaning – “the Lord’s servant” – is used three times in the bible. Once again it describes Moses in 2 Chronicles 1. Mary describes herself as the Lord’s servant when submitting to God’s plan for her life in Luke 1. And Paul reminds Timothy that the Lord’s servants are not to be quarrelsome in attitude or action in 2 Timothy 2.
While all of us who claim Jesus as our Savior are now servants of the King and slaves of righteous, this particular description seems to designate a special role or contribution. A servant of the Lord or one who is the Lord’s servant is one who serves in a special capacity or function. Whether they be OT prophets, leaders of the nation of Israel, or in the NT, the mother of Jesus or one who serves in leading the people of God. There is no value difference with this description, but there does seem to be a unique description of function and/or relationship difference.
One who is the Lord’s servant is one who submits to the Lord’s will for their life and seeks to please the One who is their Master. There is an intimacy in their relationship with the Living God. They walk closely with Him and are chosen for special contributions.
To be known as a servant of the Lord is a wonderful compliment and a great reputation to have. To finish your race, as did Moses and Joshua, and have this description used of you in remembrance, is a great honor.
So what would be the description others use to describe you and your leadership? Would the phrase “a servant of the Lord” or “the Lord’s servant” be on a short list?