The Servant who Serves without Reward, by Christine Hides
“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 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!’” Luke 17:7–10
Reflection: “[Jesus’] call to perfection is always tempered by the acknowledgement of human frailty and the availability of abundant grace.” Beverly Zink-Sawyer
One morning I prayed a risky prayer, “God, give me opportunities to serve you today.” The opportunities appeared to me (or perhaps they were always there—I was just open to seeing them). Neighbors called for help with kids. The church called asking me to lead a committee. The school needed snacks. The neighborhood association asked me to coordinate something or other. The homeless shelter asked me to fill in for the night shift. It was one of the busiest days of my life—which is why I’ve never repeated that exact prayer. Surely the slave who spent all day in the fields and then cooked dinner was more exhausted. Is this the life of discipleship Jesus calls us to? Yes. And no.
You may remember the recent sermon series, “Impossible Possibility for an Impossible Time,” where we spent several weeks considering what it means to emulate Jesus, while knowing that we will always fall short. Yes we are meant to try. No we will never be able to do all that Christ asks to do. In a world where perfection is expected in social media, grades, job performance, and relationships, what does it mean to acknowledge that we are imperfect and still truly loved? This is grace.
Lord, fill the gap between our aspirations and our abilities with your grace. Amen.