Monday, August 22, 2011
Something for nothing
We like to talk about "rights" in America, when in actuality the only rights our forefathers wanted us to have were life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and those rights came from God not government.
Now, before you jump all over me, I'm not against helping the poor. I give quite a bit to those in need. I'm simply against the government doing it. But I digress. I don't want to talk politics. I want to talk about this prevalent attitude of getting something for nothing. I ran across this passage in Luke 17 the other day and I thought about it all day.
The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith
And the Lord answered, If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.
Ok, cool. Sounds good, right? Sounds like Jesus is happy they asked for more faith and He's going to give it to them, right? But then He starts telling this somewhat harsh story
Will any man of you who has a servant plowing or tending sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, Come at once and take your place at the table?
Will he not instead tell him, Get my supper ready and gird yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; then afterward you yourself shall eat and drink?
Is he grateful and does he praise the servant because he did what he was ordered to do?
Even so on your part, when you have done everything that was assigned and commanded you, say, We are unworthy servants, possessing no merit, for we have not gone beyond our obligation; we have merely done what was our duty to do.
Woa. Now wait a minute. That's really tough to swallow. I mean Jesus is talking about servants serving their masters and expecting no praise or anything extra for just doing their duty. So, I started to wonder why did Jesus tell this story right after the disciples asked Him to increase their faith?
My opinion? I think the disciples' request for faith was made in a flippant way.. maybe even in an arrogant way. They asked for a good thing, but I think Jesus wanted to remind them to be careful in their attitudes toward God. Yes, God is loving. Yes, God is good, and yes Salvation is free, but we should maintain the mind of a servant when we approach God. We should do our duty before Him and not have the entitlement mentality that we see so much in our present culture. Give me. Give me. Give me. We take God's salvation and then we constantly ask for more and more. I'm not saying we shouldn't ask for things in prayer. It's our attitude that stinks. How do I know? Because so many times I see people (myself included) who don't get what they ask for and we get mad at God. We should take our lesson from the gentile woman who begged Jesus to heal her daughter, we should be happy with the crumbs that fall from our master's table!
It's a matter of humility and respect and appreciation. Qualities SORELY LACKING in today's world, and qualities that aren't even admired anymore.
So, I got to wondering what is our duty before God? Here's two Scriptures that I believe sum it up entirely
(Aside from believing in Jesus, of course)
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God? Micha 6:8
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
Here's a shocker: What Jesus was saying is that even if we just do these things, we should still consider ourselves unworthy servants because we have only done what our master requires. I don't think God wants us to go around beating ourselves up for being scumbags. But I do think Jesus was cutting to the heart of the matter. God has already done everything for us. He's given us eternal life with Him at a very precious cost. Everything else He does for us is icing on the cake.
So, let's be careful of allowing this culture's entitlement mentality to drift into our spiritual attitudes. God owes us nothing. And we owe Him everything. And some things are worth working for. Faith is one of them. It cannot be handed to us or increased supernaturally. It must grow in our daily walk with God. Otherwise it isn't faith at all.
God is a merciful, loving God. He will give you good things. But I caution you. Be humble. Expect nothing but God's love and salvation and be grateful for anything else He lavishes upon you!