The radical freedom of true servanthood
No proper servant remains with his master solely for the wages involved. If he realizes that he is of no use, he would rather leave and be poor. And no proper maid will stay just because of the pay. She wants to be of service. If there is nothing more to do, she is unhappy; even if she is paid, she no longer exists as a maid does. And man, in the midst of creation, has the feeling that he is here for a purpose—not just for himself but for something else, something greater, something which has been lost.
Nevertheless, today people sit in the churches thinking mostly about themselves. Everyone sighs over himself, looks for something in himself and for himself—and doesn’t himself know what it is. One would like to call out to them all: “People, forget yourselves! Think of God’s cause. Start to do something for it. Don’t be sorry for yourself; or at least be sorry that you have nothing to do but worry about your own petty concerns.”
Our greatest lack is that we are of no use to the Lord; no wonder, then, that we go to ruin in spite of all our culture. Any person degenerates, even in a physical sense, if he is not acting as part of a body that has a higher purpose. But those who, in love and enthusiasm, work for something greater than themselves prosper, even regarding their physical well being. And the race declines in its very life-values, both physical and spiritual, if, as people, there is nothing we are producing for the life of the earth, for creation, for God.
Johann Christoph Blumhardt, Thy Kingdom Come: A Blumhardt Reader, edited by Vernard Eller.