I was at a gathering recently where the role and purpose of a chamberlain was being discussed. Now, “Chamberlain” is not exactly a household word so I listened up…
A chamberlain is someone who manages the household of the king. When thinking about this role (especially in the context of living beyond servant leadership), a few natural questions might be, “What are the qualifications for managing the King’s household?” ” What’s the standard of conduct?” “What are the rules?” “I want to be trusted to steward the King’s affairs instead of being a servant, don’t you?”
As I considered these questions, I remembered a verse that speaks about the King’s “royal house rules.” James 2:8 says, “If you have fulfilled the royal law as it is written in Scripture to ‘Love your neighbor as thyself’, you do well.” Let those words really sink in for a moment. Read the verse through a few times… When we look at what this verse really says, we are given a wealth of information about what it means to be a chamberlain (a role higher than servant) in a royal household.
THE ROYAL LAW
To gain the greatest understanding of the “Royal Law,” let’s look at the meaning of each word. The following references come from Strong’s Concordance: a reference tool that cites the original Hebrew, Greek, and Latin used in modern translations of the Bible.
If you have fulfilled the royal law as it is written in Scripture to ‘Love your neighbor as thyself’, you do well. -James 2:8
• Fulfilled (5055 – teleo) – This word in the original language means to complete or bring to an end. The use of this term infers satisfaction and closure of a process. In this case, the process is “fulfilling” the law (completing all aspects of the house rules based on their design and intention).
• Royal (937 – basilikos) – Simply put, royal is anything connected to the King, those things befitting to a King.
• Law (3551 – nomos) – In this case, the word means what it sounds like. A law is a written principle implying a force or influence compelling someone to action.
• Love (agapao – 25) – Now, this word is where the law (rule) begins to get a little heavy. The kind of love referenced here means to prefer another…but not only prefer, that could become obligatory, but to authentically take pleasure in.
• Neighbor (4139 – plesion) – “Love” brought the heavy, now “neighbor” brings the real. When two people are relationship or proximity of one another, neighbor means the person that is not you. Unfortunately, there are no geographic, demographic, or psychographic delineations offered. Just know, we are always talking about the other guy when the term “neighbor” is used.
• Thyself (4572 – seatou) – Not hard to figure out, thyself is you. The Strong’s says “related to you, bringing attention back to you.” This is important because our ability to fulfill the Royal Law, as it relates to our “neighbor,” is a direct reflection on us.
• Well (2573 – kalos) – This word means honorably, rightly, nobly, or, you could say, pleasing to the King.
The good news is if you haven’t been practicing the Royal Law, you can start. Let’s now look at how to move beyond a servant and become a chamberlain. Let’s look at how to live beyond servant leadership and love practically.
LOVE IN PRACTICE
When it comes to relationships with family members, co-workers, friends, or strangers, they each desire to be treated with love. Yet, when it comes to love, the word practical almost seems contradictory. Love can feel sometimes feel overpowering, elusive, or ecstatic. But even so, we all like lists of practical steps.
So…here are some scripturally-based, practical ways to help us live out the Royal Law and love our neighbors:
1. STOP the running commentary – In the world we live in, Facebook has provided a protected platform for masked millions to give their opinion and running commentary on any and every topic you can imagine. Matthew 12:36 tells us that we will be held account every idle, non-operative word that we speak. Practice self-control (fruit of the Spirit), STOP the running commentary.
2. CHOOSE life – Are your thoughts, words, and actions life-giving? Do they bring life to those with whom you come in contact? God’s word tells us in Deuteronomy 30:19, each day we have the opportunity to choose life or to choose death. If that is not enough, read what comes next…whatever we choose, all heaven and earth are called to give witness of the choice we make. The bottom-line? Our choices will testify about us – good or bad.
3. TEST assumptions – We have all heard it, but a reminder is good. We know what we know, and we don’t know what we don’t know. Start to take notice of the automatic assumptions that start to happen in your thought processes. Keep an open mind and listen, ask questions, and take time to synthesize information before making an assumption.
4. CHECK your implicit bias – Closely related to TEST assumptions is CHECK your implicit bias. If you and I have had a set of life experiences, raised in different homes and cultures, it makes sense that we will not land on the same thought process or even worldview. Remember that we all see through the lenses of our experience. Take time to find out where you might be biased before pointing out someone else’s bias.
5. AVOID “always”, “never”, “all-the-time” – Building on the last two suggestions, is the encouragement to avoid any language that keeps another person stuck in a label or in the past. Instead, share solutions, paths to healing, and routes to restoration. Remember, as believers call on God’s ability to operate in someone’s life, that call is a direct reflection of how we see His ability to work in ours.
6. PRACTICE the Golden Rule – To capture all the practical steps in this list – and you may have more – be mindful to PRACTICE the Golden Rule. The Royal Law of the Bible is the Golden Rule of the world. The fact that the Golden Rule is found in 9 world religions, speaks even more to its power. In the Scriptures, it is also found in Matthew 7:12, “Do unto others, what you would have them do unto you, this sums up the Laws and the Prophets.”
Servants in a household don’t have access to the same privileges as advisors or family. In the same way, when we are enslaved to things like control or money we forfeit the privileges that Jesus secured for His household. Thank goodness King Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves.
Since we are talking about the Royal Law and Kingly affairs, think about these practical steps as the moat that surrounds and protects the King’s castle. Loving practically and fulfilling the Royal Law not only protects us and others from harm, is the path to honor in the household of the King.
What steps can you take today to start your journey to honor in the King’s house?
Dr. Ivy Bonk, founder of Imaginal Education Group and ReThink Learning, is an advocate and consultant who specializes in the area of trauma and learning. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Psychology. Dr. Bonk can be reached at Ivy@imaginaleducationgroup.com.