Aloha Friday Message – August 30, 2019 – … And me, your worthless servant.

1935AFC083019 – … And me, your worthless servant.

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Luke 14:11 11 For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Psalm 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

English Standard Version (ESV) Used with permission.

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Grace and Peace to each of you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus the Christ, in the Power of the Holy Spirit. Today’s Key Verse comes from the Gospel for September 1, 2019 (See Luke 14:1, 7-14). The word servant appears in the Bible almost 500 times, the word serve over 200 times. There are over 1,400 words listed as variants of the root serv*. Serve, servant, serving, service, servitude, and even servile are included in that list. The concept of servanthood is highly valued throughout Scripture. Recently we looked at the incident in Abraham’s life when he entertained three visitors. He referred to himself as their servant and – with the help of his wife, Sarah and an unnamed helper – prepared a gigantic meal for them. At one point (See Genesis 18:3) he said “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant.” He was offering the gift of hospitality, and hospitality is a mark of humility. One must be humble to serve another.

Jesus’ rebuke of the Scribes and Pharisees accused them of lording it over the ordinary citizens of Israel. Instead of serving the people, they served themselves by burdening others with meeting their needs. Will Rogers might have said they were too big for their britches.

There are similar role-reversal passages throughout the Gospels – the last shall be first and the first shall be last, the greatest must be a servant and the leader must be a slave, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” (See Mark 9:35) We’ve cited Bob Dylan’s Gotta serve somebody at times. Isn’t it true that we hope to one day hear Jesus say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”? (See Matthew 25:21-23 and Luke 19:17) Well then, who will we serve, and how? Who is the most important person in our lives? And if we do serve well, what outcome do we expect? Let’s take a quick diversion for The Parable of the Long Spoons.

In this parable, often attributed to Rabbi Haim of Romshishok and various other sources, everyone who dies goes to a place where there is a long (or round) banquet table. Everyone is given a long wooden spoon – about 4 feet long. Those at Hell’s banquet table struggle to feed themselves and end up perpetually starving and suffering from pangs of hunger.    Those at Heaven’s banquet table use their spoons to feed others across the table or neighbors nearby. In one version, a person is sent to suggest to the banqueters in Hell that they might feed one another to which one fellow replies, “You expect me to feed the detestable man sitting across the table? I would rather starve than give him the pleasure of eating!” Does that sound like humility? No, of course not. All of us can see and understand that humility is a virtue that prohibits self-serving actions. Being self-serving is the error committed by the Pharisees. They were more important, not the people to whom God sent them as servants. Jesus was warning them that they required a conversion of heart; they must “repent and believe the Gospel.” Those poor, deluded chaps thought they had it made because they had memorized The Law; what they did not realize is that they did not live The Law. They could probably quote Psalm 19:7-14 and completely forget that – because The Law of the Lord is perfect – they should know that failing to live The Law by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12 But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults. They failed to heed the warning of The Law and purposely hid their errors in pompous pretended piety. They sought to be first, the masters, the well-regarded celebrities of their time. They chose to ignore the Love of God – Christ’s law of Love.

The love of God is like the ocean, you can see its beginnings but not its end. The Grace of God is the ocean of His Love. He is the source of the Ocean of Grace. When you acknowledge Him, it is as if you are submersed in a vast ocean being fed by a fountain of purest water. You are standing in that fountain in the center of the center of the Crystal Sea drinking from a crystal cup of God’s Endless Grace and Love, and this is true for every human soul alive today in Heaven and on Earth who will Serve the Lord with gladness! This is the hallmark of a “good and faithful servant.”

When we use the word faithful to describe someone, we mean that person is trustworthy, someone who can be relied on to be honest in word and action. In the parable of the Good Steward, Jesus describes the servants who meet or exceed their master’s will as “good and faithful servants.” We can contrast that with Jesus’ statement in Luke 10:16 “So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’” Someone who is faithful is not worthless but rather valued, and a faithful servant will – at the very least – follow all of the master’s orders. A good and faithful servant will endeavor to exceed the master’s expectations. Good stewards do good work and for that they are counted as reliable by their master and by others. Good stewards do the right thing even when the master is not good. But, what if the master is good?

A good master and a good servant are the basis for a good household, a good community, and a good nation. God himself is the epitome of the Good Master. Who is more faithful than God? Who can be trusted more than God? Who is more reliable, more believable, more honest? Who else is the embodiment of Truth? St. Augustine in his sermon on The Creed stated there are three things God cannot do. He cannot die, he cannot lie, and he cannot be deceived. These are not failings that arise out of weakness, but rather a testament to God’s infinite power and dignity. If a good master and good servant make a good combination, how much better is a combination of an infinitely good master and a good and faithful servant? We can only speculate about that because we, too, have at most done only what is expected of us; truth be known, we don’t make it to that level of excellence very often. How, then, can we hope to hear or Lord call us “good and faithful?” We have that hope because HE is faithful! Belovéd, if God wants us to be servants, doesn’t that mean he wants us to give up our freedom? Are we to be God’s slaves?

Let us first ask how slaves are acquired. They are usually bought. Someone pays for the authority to rule another person’s life. Are we bought? Yes! And our account is stamped “PAID IN FULL.” And what was the price? Love. Love sets us free. It was Love that held Christ to the Cross. It was Love that gained us our salvation. It is Love that binds us to Christ as his slaves because – as he said – “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” (See John 14:15-31) Jesus paid the highest-possible price – his life for ours. All that he requires is that we give our lives for him. It doesn’t matter to him what our lives look like. He’ll take us just the way we are. That’s what Paul was telling the Galatians. When we “know better than God,” we err in favor of our personal pleasures. Let’s also take a look at what Paul said to the Galatians about that in Galatians 6:8-10If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

Let us work as the slaves of Christ for, because of him, God has made us coheirs with him by making us his children. That is why Paul said in Galatians 4:6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Is the son the slave of his father? Is the daughter the subordinate of her mother? In the Old Testament, the word for slave is עַבְדֶּֽךָ   (‘aḇ-de-ḵā) from עֶבֶד (ebed) {eh’-bed} (See Genesis 18:3) – variously translated as slave, servant, attendant – a subordinate person either through ownership of pledge of service. In the New Testament it is δοῦλος (doulos) {doo’-los} – a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own, and “surprise, surprise,” that state of being is highly honored throughout the New Testament for those who willingly live under the authority of Christ and his chosen leaders as devoted followers of their One, True Master, Jesus the Christ. We are BLESSED to be less! We surrender our lives to be consecrated to the Servant of servants. As Jesus’ disciples, we are

  • Grateful
  • Prayerful
  • Watchful
  • Bountiful
  • Respectful
  • Reverential and

We are not forced to serve; we are chosen to serve, and when we prefer to serve – even as his unworthy servants – then our service is rewarded when we hear, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your Master.” (See Matthew 25:23) I am indeed a worthless servant – even less than worthless; I cannot even do what my Master has asked much less more than he requires. May our prayers for Grace from God our Father advance the peace and salvation of the whole world and humbly confirm in faith and charity our gladness in his presence along with all who seek God with a sincere, meek, and humble heart. (See Eucharistic Prayer III) Then, we will Serve the Lord with gladness! And Come into his presence with singing! (↔ Music Link) We will exult with the Exalted.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

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Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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