The other day, a friend and I were talking about gauges. Gauges, like those big holes people put in their ears. Apparently, a lot of people at Ichthus wore gauges and my friend was telling me how disgusting the gauges looked. I agreed I didn’t find them aesthetically appealing, but then again, gauges are “biblical,” I said sarcastically. Here’s why:
The idea of a pierced ear servant comes from Exodus and Deuteronomy, the second and fifth books in a volume set called the Bible. The scenario arose when a slave decided that his or her master was such a good master that the slave would serve the master until death. In this case, the slave would stand against a door or doorpost, and the master would take an awl and hammer to smash a hole in the slave’s ear. An awl, through the ear, could be the size of a gauge.
Ironically, one of the Greek words for “servant” in the New Testament means under rower. That is, the people who sit under the deck of the boat and row on command. They help the people on top of the boat reach their destination. Paul referred to himself as such when he said he was a servant of Jesus. So, we have a pierced ear servant in the OT and an under rower in the NT.
What’s that mean for me? Sometimes, I’m not willing to serve. I know I should. But I don’t want to. I’d rather be selfish, spend my time my way, use my resources on my own interests. I’d rather watch a movie, play a game, be entertained, instead of going to work on social justice issues or wash the dishes or whatever. At times, I’d rather do anything than give of myself. Yet the strangest things happen when I choose to give.
I experience joy. I become energized. I feel alive. As Dave Matthews says, “When you give, you begin to live.”
So back to the pierced ear servant and the under rower ideas: I think what keeps me from giving, from being willing, is that I don’t always recognize the goodness of God. I think God will somehow screw me over. I don’t look back and see how kind He has been to me. I don’t acknowledge the good gifts He’s given. I know once I do that, once my eyes become more open, I voluntarily choose to serve Him because He’s good. I’ve experienced this many times. When it happens, I want to become an under rower and help others reach their destination, because in the end, it will be an encouragement to us all. In the end, what we do in service, in love, will be given back to us. That said, may we get over ourselves and reach out to others. May we open our eyes. May we wear our gauges proudly. May we become willing under rowers and willing pierced ear servants. And may we recognize the simple fact–GOD…IS…GOOD.