This week I’m continuing to look at the action verbs of Deuteronomy 13:4, which says, “Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.” Serve is the first action verb of that verse.
While I was reading this week, I came to Luke 12. In this chapter, Jesus gives a description of a model servant. When I came to this passage three distinct markers of a godly servant stood out to me. The markers of a godly servant of Christ Jesus are: readiness, integrity, and diligence.
“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.”Luke 12:35-39 NASB
As the Lord’s servants, believers are given the weighty task of representing Christ to a lost and dying world until the day that Christ himself returns. Our master has entrusted us with caring for His greatest creation, humanity. We do this only through the power of His Holy Spirit in us, while God the Father and God the Son reign in Heaven. One day soon our Master, God the Son, will return. When He does, He expects us to be ready.
Imagine you’ve trusted a pet-sitter to come care for your beloved dog while you take a vacation. You decide to come home a day earlier than expected and return to find your home in disarray, dog mess everywhere, and an empty food and water bowl. Would you feel like you could trust that sitter? Would you happily reward them for their work? Similar to how we expect our pet-sitters to be ready for our return, God expects us to be ready for His. He asks us to “go and make disciples” ,“be holy just as Christ is holy” and “love our neighbor as ourselves”. Our master expects us to have completed His commands, similar to how we expect the pet-sitter to walk and feed our dog. Will we be ready? Are we living in a way that anticipates Christ’s eminent return?
“And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers.”Luke 12:42-46 NASB
I’ve heard integrity explained as the act of being the same person you are in private as you are in public. The servant in the above verses lacked integrity. He wasn’t the same person when his master wasn’t looking. The mask of responsibility he wore when with his master hid the abusive and neglectful person behind.
The Luke 12 servant isn’t the only servant who often wears a deceitful mask. Servants of Christ, myself included, wear masks all the time. Some portray themselves as pure, while living in sexual sin. Some wear the mask of warm friendship, while secretly defaming others. Some disguise themselves as righteous, while daily choosing to live in fear-lead disobedience. Some use social media to fool others into believing they have it all together, when all they do in their own strength crumbles. What mask are you hiding behind today? Our faithful Master will not tolerate our lack of integrity.
“And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”Luke 12:47-48 NASB
Though I rarely utilize it as I should, my parents did a wonderful job of teaching me diligent responsibility according to Luke 12:48. I remember hearing, “With greater privilege comes greater responsibility.” From an early age, I knew that I was not going to receive much for nothing. My privileges were earned. As I matured, so did my responsibilities and my privileges. When I gained the privilege of driving my own car, I gained the responsibility of abiding by parents’ car rules as well as making the occasional grocery run. I understood that being given much, meant much was expected of me.
I pray that I am still applying that principle as I look at my life. I’ve been given tremendous privileges like a loving husband, three incredible children, a welcoming home, and ample opportunity for relationship. Am I stewarding my privileges well and living in a way that prompts my Master to trust me with even more responsibility?
As servants of the Most High God, we have a vital role. Our Master asks us to make disciples, represent Christ, study the Word, and be holy and obedient. Are we doing our job with readiness, integrity, and diligence?