Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Back in the Servant's Quarters.

I spent the greater part of my college career performing in musical theater. The stage was no stranger. I enjoyed it. As I've aged, the stage has started to scare me. Now I'm terrified of performing. Since I try to be painfully honest in this blog, I'll tell you that I don't miss the applause, the kudos, the congratulations. Who wouldn't?!? (Or maybe it's just me that thanks The Academy and the Hollywood Foreign Press a.k.a my bedroom mirror.)

While studying the book of Luke with my Tuesday bible study buddies, I've been struck that Christ so often reminds us of our place in His kingdom. Our Christ, our Savior, gave all so that we could be saved and enjoy the treasures of heaven, but until that time our place is at the feet of our Savior and at the feet of others as mere servants. Earthly accolades are not our goal. Comfortable accommodations are not our right. Rather, our comforts are huge blessings to be hospitably shared. Talents are not meant for our gain. Talents are meant to further the kingdom. Attention is for the Christ and the Creator alone.

We joked in our study this morning that rarely does a minister preach a sermon on a little passage in Luke 16. I wonder why. Perhaps we don't like being reminded of our station. Check out this little tidbit from Christ:

"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? Would he thank the servant because he did as he was told to do?" 

Here's the closing clincher. Check this out:

"So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We were unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'"

There you go, preachers. Preach THAT sermon. Here's how it would go: "Church, DO YOUR JOB." Cue the alter call.

The question I ask myself here is: Do I expect kudos for simply doing my duty as a Christian?

Do we expect gratitude, attention, or accolades for sharing the gospel, for serving others, for teaching children's worship, for leading singing, for spiritual parenting, for living? Have we all absorbed this westernized entitlement attitude? Do we expect to have articles written up about our work or buildings named after us? Do we deserve our earthly blessings? I promise you, we definitely can never ever deserve our inheritance. Have we forgotten our mutual place in the servants quarters?

You see, while we are offered huge benefits from working in the kingdom, the truth is, earthly treasures and rampant unbridled applause from the earth are not our reward, and we shouldn't seek it. We are not entitled to earthly comforts and should not be out seeking attention for simply doing our job. We are to DO it. We are servants who serve because we owe the master BIG time, and we'll never be able to work off this debt.

When my serving days are done at the end of my earthly shift and I clock out to gain my reward, I hope to hear something from another parable, but probably from the same master...

‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:21

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