The Servant Parent/Teacher

By James Beeke

"Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as menpleasers; but with singleness of heart, fearing God" (Colossians 3:22).

Are we servants, as parents and teachers? Not only, as teachers, serving your principal and school board, but especially serving the King of Kings? Are we servants of Christ? The answer to this question illustrates the critical difference between a Christian schoolteacher and a Christian school teacher. To the truly Christian parent and teacher, Jesus is LORD. If Jesus is LORD, this means that I am His servant.

"Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh." If this is to be true for natural masters who are imperfect, how much truer for the spiritual and perfect! A faithful servant is one that listens for his master’s command, looks for his direction and seeks to promptly perform his will. Such a servant loves to faithfully serve his master. Are you and I such faithful servants? By God’s grace, do our children/students witness our loving servanthood?

A servant’s faithfulness is tested, not when he is asked to do that which he wants to do, but when his master’s command is contrary to his personal desires, ideas and plans. There is a great difference between servants who obey their master’s will in some things, or in most things, or to a certain degree, and servants who strive to obey their masters in all things. Are you willing to sacrifice personal desire, time and pride for the Master? Are you a servant teacher or parent?

A servant teacher is one who does not serve with eye service, as a manpleaser. Menpleasers are role-players. They are actors, not real people. An actor plays a role for a time, but when the scene is past, the actor returns to his true person. Parents and teachers, test yourselves. Are you real? Are you true servants, or are you actors who play a certain role when opportunities are present to impress certain people? Our children/students will observe. Teachers, what do you think of students who say and do the right things when you are watching, but when you are not present, their behavior is very different? These are menpleasers. Parents, do you and I speak to our children differently, pray at the table differently, act differently when other adults are present as dinner guests? Teachers, is your attitude, tone and mannerisms toward your students different when adults are visiting your classroom?

To be a rnan-pleaser or a God-pleaser are two very different things. If a mechanic knew that he was fine-tuning the queen’s car, if a baker knew that his cakes were for the president’s luncheon, would they not strive to do their best? If a teacher knew that her principal would be observing her lesson, will she not be well prepared? The more we may, by God’s grace, be a true servant, a God-pleaser, the more we see that in our teaching and parenting and all we do, that all is in the presence of God. A far greater Master observes our work than a queen or president. A far greater Lord observes our teaching than a principal. To the truly Christian parent or teacher, acting is foolish and menpleasing is sinful be- cause the Master is always observing. The more I am a servant teacher/parent the more conscious I am of the Master’s presence.

We are called to serve "in singleness of heart, fearing God." Singleness of heart is the opposite of a divided heart, of double-mindedness, of halting between two opinions. We are to purely serve the Master. The true servant must conquer and surrender his own will to purely do his master’s will. Is your master "self" or God; if God, to what degree?

Parents, your children will know whether you are a men-pleaser or God-pleaser. Teachers, your students will recognize whether your service is in singleness of heart, fearing God or not.

Are you a servant teacher, a self-denying and God-fearing parent?