Abraham’s un-named servant had been given a difficult task. He was to go far away to who-knows-where in order to select and bring back a wife for Abraham’s son. It seems to be one of those tasks in which there are 1000 chances of failure, and little chance of success.
But this servant teaches us something important. When we don’t know what we are doing, it is best to pray. As we continue our reflection on Bible passages in which men and women engage with God, Genesis 24 is one of the best. This humble servant asks God for amazing help. While most translations read quite literally, “grant me success today, and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham,” CEB has this rather winsome rendering: “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make something good happen for me today and be loyal to my master Abraham.” I like that - make something good happen for me today. We could all pray that prayer often.
You’ll notice that the servant’s “good day” really wasn’t all about the servant. I’m not sure what would make a good day for you. Getting to do whatever you want? Going all day without anyone making you mad? Avoiding a certain person? Avoiding people in general? Most of these cases revolve right around our own selves. Not so with the servant. His “good day” or “success” has to do with fulfilling his mission for the sake of Abraham, his master.
As followers of Jesus, we are his servants, and He is our master. We are to do his bidding. And so, as with this Old Testament servant, our good days and successes are defined not so much by our individualistic sense of sell-being, but by our proper involvement in carrying out our designated aspect of His mission, not primarily for the sake of ourselves, but for the sake of Him.
Our mission may involve mundane service to family, to employer, and engaged in pursuits that seem on the surface to have little to do with God and church. The servant’s mission involved traveling on a dusty road and getting water from a well and negotiating a difficult proposal. But he never lost sight of the honor of his master. Nor should we.
And so even as you serve your employer or children, it is not primarily for their sake, but for the Lord’s honor. And if you don’t know quite how to do that - well, then our passage becomes ever more applicable. Pray, “Lord, God of my master Jesus, make something good happen for me today.”