There can be no faithful service except there be love. And the form love takes in a ‘good and faithful servant’ is sure to be the form which meets us here: — I mean, an eager, anxious love identifying itself with the welfare of those it serves: a self-sacrificing, self-denying, self-forgetting love: — a love like that of Abraham’s servant for his master Abraham.
Well done, good and faithful Servant.
— Matt. 25:21
Of all the Servants spoken of in Scripture, if one were called upon to say which most nearly comes up to the idea one forms to oneself of a ‘good and faithful servant’, it would be that eldest servant of Abraham’s house, whom Abraham sent into Padan Aram to take a wife for his son Isaac. The history is set down at great length in the 24th chapter of Genesis and is familiar to us all.
It will be remembered that in the 15th chapter Abraham, with reference to his childless estate, expostulates thus with Almighty God, ‘Behold, to me Thou hast given no seed; and one born in mine house is my heir;’ for, ‘the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus.’ We are reminded by this of the entire difference between the manners and usages of that remote age and the present. In case Abraham were to die childless, a servant born in his house would — in the ordinary course of events — succeed to Abraham’s vast property, and become his heir.
Of course, if this was the servant spoken of in the 24th chapter, the man’s conduct and demeanour becomes dignified marvellously. Then is he the very pattern of disinterestedness: a servant who deserved to reign in the world as a king. But although I do for my own part entirely believe that it was Eliezer whom Abraham sent into Padan Aram; Eliezer who met Rebekah at the well of water; Eliezer who brought Rebekah back as a wife for Isaac; — I shall build nothing that follows on this presumed identity. I cannot prove it. I may be mistaken in my opinion. I will therefore not build upon it: but confine myself entirely to the evidence of a ‘good and faithful Servant’ afforded by the narrative in the 24th chapter — whatever that person’s name may have been.
And, by way of making my remarks practically useful, I propose to narrow the issue yet further. I shall invite you to attend specially to the feature of character which this narrative discloses — viz. the faithfulness of a good servant in fulfilling a commission. All servants have had, or are to have commissions — trusts of importance — to fulfil; and it is for those who read to consider with themselves secretly whether, in the discharge of such trusts, they resemble Abraham’s servant or not.
Abraham was old, and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.
And he took an oath of the eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all he had, making him swear by the Lord, ‘the God of Heaven and the God of the Earth’, that he would not take a wife unto his son of the daughters of the Canaanites among whom he dwelt. ‘But thou shalt go’ (said he) ‘unto my country and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.’ Very strict was the charge he gave to his servant that on no account might he bring Isaac his son back to the land of his fathers. If the woman would not consent to follow him back, then was the servant to be held clear from the oath.