“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! (Luke 12:35-38 ESV)
No one knows when the appearing of Jesus to close the history of this world will happen. No one knows. All Jesus tells us (over and over) is that we won’t know so be ready. He repeats it a lot. Passages like this one is where I find my theology of the “last man standing”. Although in this particular one, Jesus doesn’t mention it; He may allude to it, but it’s not explicit. What we get from this one is to be ready.
From the context, Jesus is speaking to all His followers. In the following passage, after Peter asks who Jesus might be meaning this for, Jesus explicitly refers to leaders. Here it’s everyone. Every follower of Jesus is supposed to be a ready servant, ready for His return, ready with lamps lit, ready to open the door, ready to serve. But only here, in Luke, do we find that the Master will then turn about on His servants and serve them. It’s a statement that had to catch His listeners off guard. What master serves his servants? Clearly this is no earthly master.
One of the difficult things for me to master in my walk with my Master is submission. I’m stubborn, selfish, and self-centered. I am. I know it. In a lot of ways I justify it because of the environment I live in. I’m in America, home of the selfish, land of the narcissist. If marketing promotes it, it’s only because we respond. It works so well because we love being selfish. We consider looking out for number one to be the most pragmatic approach to life. Even when people talk a good game, care for others, and helping under privileged, and so on; even then there is an agenda.
So, to consider myself a slave is counter-intuitive for me. Yes, I do live in America, but even so, I know it’s not right and I do it anyway. I know I’m a slave, either of my Savior or of the enemy of the world. I don’t get to escape slavery, such thoughts are part of what keeps people enslaved to the enemy. The thing is, I do get to choose who I serve.
I wish it were that simple though. It sure should be. I can choose to serve the Master Who will then serve His faithful servants found ready when He comes. But more often than not, I find that I’m serving the enemy of my soul who desires my demise and that of all my neighbors, friends, and family. I know that it’s wrong, but I do it anyway.
I am happy to report that I do this less and less, much less than I used to. I’m not the same person I was even 5 years ago. I’ve grown and been stretched much further than I would have imagined. But I am also very aware of the vastness that separates me from the ideal I see in Scripture. I know my heart to an extent, and even that limited view reveals some darkness. But it also reveals some light. I see that my Master is not leaving me as an orphan, but in spite of my foibles, He continually works to mold more and more into His image.
So, I am confident that one day I will see His face. I am confident that He will find me faithful (mostly), and I am hopeful that I will be one of those at His table as He serves His servants. I can’t think of a better choice than to be a slave of One who serves. I can’t think of a better option than to follow One who loves me and gave Himself up for me. Who better to be a slave of? Now to do the work of my Master.
What do you learn from Jesus’ call to be ready?