Monday, May 23, 2016

Servanthood and Downton Abbey by Shirley Raye Redmond

I was having lunch with some friends the other day and the subject of Downton Abbey came up. All of us are missing the popular PBS series, but what surprised me most was how many of us—when sharing which characters we liked best—chose one or more of the servants. We liked Mrs. Hughes’s kind efficiency and Mrs. Patmore’s no-nonsense practicality. We liked the butler’s loyalty and Mr. Mosely’s earnestness. They were good at what they did. They were good servants.

Since that luncheon discussion, I’ve been wrestling with the concept: what does it mean to be a good servant? What is a bad servant? That one might be a little bit easier to identify. A bad servant is looking out for her own pleasures—regardless of what her duties might be—like Ethel, who ends up giving birth to an illegitimate child and suffering for her sin. She quickly loses her position at Downton and is dismissed without a character reference. She was more interested in having a goodtime than serving the master of the house.

So what made the good servants GOOD? For one thing, they were aware that everything came from Lord Grantham—their uniforms, their jobs, their wages, their food, and their shelter. Good servants are grateful. Like Carson the butler, good servants take pride in their work. Like Anna, they are at their mistress or master’s beck and call, whether it’s convenient or not.

I cannot help wondering if God sees me as a good servant or a self-centered one? In first Corinthians, chapter 6, the Apostle Paul reminds us that we’ve been bought at a great price and we no longer belong to ourselves. “We must no longer let our own desires take first priority in life.”

So I am conscientiously trying to remember to serve the Master. I want to be a good servant. I will be grateful for all He has done for me and given me. I should take pride in the work He has called me to do. And I need to be mindful that it’s His will, not mine, that needs to be done. I want to please Him. One day, I want Him to joyfully acknowledge me as one of His “good and faithful servants.”

That is my prayer for us all.

An award-winning writer and frequent conference speaker, Shirley Raye Redmond is the author of two inspirational historical novels, PRUDENCE PURSUED and AMANDA’S BEAU, as well as two dozen children’s books. Shirley Raye holds an M.A. in literature. She has been married to her husband Bill for forty years. They live in New Mexico and are blessed with two grown children, two adorable grandsons, and one spunky Scottish terrier. Touch bases at or Facebook and


  1. I miss the show too. A lovely post thank you.

  2. I often question if I am a good servant, Thanks for sharing!