Sunday, June 1, 2014

No Thanks Necessary

Those of us living in some kind of lala land of spirituality need to wake up to the Kingdom's reality. For sure, Jesus is compassionate, tender, loving, merciful andforgiving to those who are broken and need restoration. But we cannot ignore that those of us who are saved are in a different category. We are the mature. Much has been given to us and much is expected. I think we need a  more realistic look at the demands of servanthood.

Yes, we are the children of Yahweh, of the royal line, princes and princesses, but we are here as servants. As Jesus set aside his divinity to complete what needed to be done in service to Father, we too are told to set aside our rights and privileges, to serve Jesus and this lost world. But instead of humbling ourselves and serving in the power and authority of our King, we walk around like useless, pampered, snobs who don't have a clue about our responsibilities. I have a verse I would like you to chew on.

In Luke 17 Jesus tells a simple parable about a lord and his servant. He asks the crowd to consider what their expectations would be if they had a servant. After the servant came in from the outdoor work and waited on his lord during the meal, would they thank the servant or is he only doing what falls within his duties? Jesus told us that our attitude in service to him should be a humble one:

So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ (Luke 17:10)

Read it again. Those are the words of Jesus. Some people may find it surprising that he spoke them. It doesn't seem like the same man who played with the children and was moved by compassion for the suffering masses. But this is the Lord who called us to him in love and who tells us the real love is shown in our obedience to his instructions. We are not children. We are not suffering masses. We are the victorious in the Lord. We are the workers of the Kingdom. We are his servants in this world.

Sometimes we seem to have the attitude that we are doing Jesus a favour by being kind to people. If we examine our actions closely we will notice that most of the people we are kind to make us feel good. But Jesus told us to go beyond kindness to those who love us, to show love to those who hate us. Even then we shouldn't feel we have done anything special but only what is our duty. We have a duty of love, an obligation to those who are loved by Jesus, who are the lost of this world. We should do everything possible to show ourselves faithful in our responsibilities.

Not exactly how most of us are living these days. It is as if we expect a heroes' parade for every little act of kindness we manage. In fact, most people think they are heroes whenever they find time to read their Bible. Reading doesn't even count unless we put it into practice. How crazy we have gotten in lowering Yahweh's standards so we can make the least effort look good. I blame people like me, the teachers. We have been afraid of losing people and so we have not held people to any great expectations but we should at least be pointing out that Jesus has expectations of us. It's never too late though. We can change our attitude and step back into the shoes of a faithful servant who considers it all the thanks he needs just to serve the King.

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