September 15, 2012

Slavery isn’t such a bad thing…

Principles in the kingdom of God are opposite to human rationality. While they might be understood, even appreciated, thinking as God thinks is not normal or natural.

For instance, greatness in human thinking usually has something to do with ‘bigger, better and more’ rather than what Jesus described to His disciples…
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25–28)

Who hasn’t said, or at least thought, “I’m not your slave” in one situation or another? Teens protest in that fashion when asked to do household chores. Wives feel the same way when repeatedly asked to ‘bring me a coffee’ or some other chore. Instead of serving without reward as a slave, most people look for ‘what’s in this for me?’ and detour around the purely menial tasks. I know that I can be like that.

Jesus changes that attitude. When He is at the core of a person, He brings with His presence that attitude of looking for ways to serve others. With Jesus our lives, His disciples don’t think of service as drudgery or resent it. In fact, sometimes it isn’t even noticed as service.

Yesterday I went to a Craft show, actually a collection of vendors selling supplies for quilters and scrapbooking enthusiasts. Usually I go there with wallet in hand intending to bring home some treasures for myself, but this time I didn’t buy anything. The color and design inspired me; I met several friends and had good chats with them, but nothing tempted me to make a purchase — except a certain book. 

I picked it up twice. Then I walked around looking at other booths, met a friend and told her about it. She was interested too, but was stuck working a booth so I offered to buy it for her. I went back to the original booth just as another shopper picked it up. I waited, but she bought it. I returned and told my friend. She was so disappointed that I decided to look for it in other booths. Much later, I finally learned that this book is ‘out of print’ and that I should have grabbed it when I had the chance.

This morning, when I read the words of Jesus for today’s devotional, I thought about spending all that time trying to find that book for my friend. I even went online when I got home and found that it is available somewhere else. This was not work, not resented, not even close to slavery. Instead, I enjoyed spending that time to help someone else. A few years ago, I may have done it but been annoyed by it, or looked for the book for myself, or told her ‘too bad’ and not bothered to look at all. 

For me, realizing that Jesus has changed my attitude about service is a big deal. When I was a child, I was ill and my family waited on me like slaves. I was spoiled rotten and grew up expecting service. Now, when it does not happen, that spoiled brat can still get huffy, but that happens less and less. Instead, the Holy Spirit sometimes surprises me by putting on my heart a different attitude and lets me feel privileged to be a servant.

Lord, You come into my needy, fallen state and work Your magic, often surprising me. I do not deserve Your amazing grace and am so thankful that Your Word is true. You said, “It shall not be so among you…” because You knew Your own power to transform lives. Thank You for making me among that number, and for giving me the delight of serving You, and the fun of finding a book for my friend.

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