We like Jesus when he tells us we’re guaranteed a seat at the banquet of God’s kingdom. But we’re troubled by the Jesus who tells us to wait on tables now. Being defined as a mere obedient servant seems a little cold, but it’s a useful corrective to the notion that God owes us something special for all our hard work being the good guys. God is not, after all, our employer. God isn’t obliged to put a little extra in the envelope when we put in overtime. God owes us nothing. It is we who are indebted for everything.
The disciples are obsessed with proportions nonetheless. They think “more faith” will make them more faithful! Jesus reminds them that God makes a lot with a little, as when the world was created from chaos, or humanity formed out of clay. A smattering of faith is enough – when it’s used. But if we don’t listen to God? All the faith and good works we can stockpile will be pitifully inadequate.
Think of the five biggest things you’ve ever done for God. Compare them with the five biggest things God has done for you. Does the story of the useless servant make more sense now?
Ask God today to speak to you: in Scripture, in the day’s events, through other people. Listen for what God says to you today. Write down the words of God that comes to you, and pray over them tonight.
The Scripture (Luke 17: 5-6a)
The apostles came up and said to the Master, “Give us more faith”. But the Master said, “You don’t need more faith. There is no ‘more’ or ‘less’ in faith”.
Do you ever accomplish everything you set out to do in the course of a work day? Do you feel you are constantly ‘catching up’ from yesterday’s leftover work? It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-pity, feeling that too much is being required of you.
The same thing can happen in our Christian walk. Sometimes it seems that we have many things to do and not enough time to do them in, and we begin to feel persecuted or unappreciated. We take our eyes off the goal and begin to feel self-centred. It’s really easy to compare yourself with others and think that you are more deserving than someone else because you have been a faithful servant.
The reality is that God does not reward or punish us based on merit. None of us is worthy of God’s great gifts, and yet God freely gives them to us. We need to remember that we are simply doing our duty as Christians when we follow God’s commands.
In every raw emotion,
God journeys with us.
In every painful memory,
God offers us healing grace.
In every broken story,
God holds the pieces in love.
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