Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Pretty strong words... Luke 15

Der Berufung des Matthaus by  Pieter Claesz Scoutman 1593(?)-1657 

"No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

The "servant" here is actually a slave.  A man or woman nowadays can work two jobs or work for two different people.  But a "servant" in this context cannot.  His time belongs totally to his master, as does his energy and direction.  A servant of God, therefore, cannot serve God part-time.  Agreeing to become his servant means full-time, wherever we are, we are serving him.

And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things and they derided him.

They, who enjoyed spending resources on satisfying their own desires for material things or for ease and comfortable experiences looked down their noses at this idea.  They likely thought this idea was financially impractical and/or overly idealistic.  Do I?  What keeps me from fully embracing servanthood?  Fear of loss of stuff?  Desire for ease?  Comfort? Worry about not having enough?

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts;

I can try to justify my less than full commitment, or my torn allegiances using the reasoning and assumptions of the culture in which I live, but I can't fool God.  God knows exactly what it is I love more than I love giving my whole self to serve.  I need to be as conscious of that about myself as He is.  I need to wrestle that.

for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Whoa.  Abomination is a strong word.  It's easy for me to point to things that OTHERS esteem in their lives, but that I don't, and say, "Yes.  That's for sure."  But it's foolish to think that because I might be able to  pick out those stumbling blocks in someone else's life I don't have any of my own.   And suddenly it's not just "mammon" it's  "that which is highly esteemed among men". It is not only things and experiences and comfort that money can provide, but also honors, recognition, goals, hopes, desires that the world has taught me are worthy of esteem that I long for or cling to and whose pursuit, conscious or unconscious, divides my loyalty.

How to change my heart, let go, and fully serve?


BrieAnn said...

I've been thinking a lot about Christ's invitation, "Come, follow me." It's the deepest desire of my heart to take Him up on that. I struggle with finding a way to do that more completely, but I think the fact that I'm about to make a big move allows me to imagine what it feels like to be tethered more closely with Christ. I would rather be without [insert any number of things I've grown to be comfortable with], if it means a greater ability to be with Him. But, I am not without many things that stand in the way of me fully serving. Figuring out how to pare down what can/should stay is no easy task.

I find it strange that finding a way to live according to my heart's deepest desire also requires a change of heart. On Westminster Presbyterian Church, a plaque over the entry reads, "To become a complete disciple of Jesus Christ." I've loved it since I first noticed it (right before we moved to Chicago), and I think the hope of becoming a "complete" disciple of Christ has been a good guage for making decisions that help me realize my dreams for my relationship with him. Especially when I'm afraid of letting go.

Snowy Mornings said...

BrieAnn, I like that.