Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lesson 39: Servant-hood

Brief 4-to-5 Minute Teaching Lesson

Why? and What is the Purpose? in My Life SERIES

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Lesson 39 of the Discipleship Making process.

I left you last time with these two questions, “Are you a servant of God?” and “Do you believe that God will provide the necessities of life for you?”

Read: Luke 12:32-59

Employed by God
Jesus begins the lesson on servant-hood by assuring His disciples that God has employed them. He has gladly chosen to give them the Kingdom of God, so they do not need to be afraid. He will provide for their needs, in this way they are able to devote their time and attention to serving God. And since God has freely chosen to give the disciples employment, they can feel free to sell their possessions and give the proceeds to the poor and needed (ex. Acts 2:44-45, 4:32-35).

The Job Description
The next thing that Jesus tells His disciples to do is to make purses for themselves, which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven. Upon hearing this command the disciples might have been somewhat puzzled but with a little thought we can ascertain what Jesus was saying:
  • According to the Scriptures there are only three things (treasures – see Lesson 13) that have eternal worth or value. They are faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13). These three are priceless treasures in both heaven and earth. No thief can steal them and no moth or rust can destroy them.
  • Finding material to make purses that can hold faith, hope, and love forever is the next step. The only things that qualify are human beings. They can be made into disciples of Jesus Christ who in turn will go to heaven with treasures stored in them (Matthew 28:18-20).
Daily Responsibilities
In the final portion of the lesson Jesus addresses the disciples daily responsibilities. First, they are to be dressed in readiness. This implies that disciples are to be prepared at all times (Ephesians 6:13-18).

Secondly, He tells them to keep their lamps alight. In Lesson 4 we discovered that the disciples’ light shines when they bring the testimony of Jesus to others. In order to keep the light shining a constant supply of oil is needed. Throughout Scripture oil is used symbolically to represent the Holy Spirit. For example, in Zechariah 4 we see the image of a seven-branched golden lampstand flanked by two olive trees with pipes running from them to the lampstand providing it with a constant supply of oil. Then we hear God declare, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.” In order to keep their lamps alight the disciples need to be continually filled with the Spirit of God. Interestingly, several months later Jesus cautioned the disciples not to run out of oil when He told them the Parable of the Five Wise and Five Foolish Virgins.

Thirdly, Jesus tells the disciples to be like men who are waiting for their master. Within this command are two concepts: expectation and priority. The disciples are to go about the business of making disciples daily. However they are to remain alert for the arrival of their master who may give them additional instructions that override what they were currently doing. As Christians we are to be constantly listening for our Lord’s voice and immediately stop what we are doing and respond to it.

An additional allusion can be drawn from what Jesus told them, “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.” In the Book of Revelation the last message given to the Church before Jesus’ return concerns this very issue. The Church has become wealthy, apathetic, and self-satisfied. Yet the Lord is displeased with their servant-hood and finds them needy. Do they hear His voice anymore? Will they welcome Him in their midst? Listen to how the message to the Church of Laodicea (name means “human rights”) reads: Revelation 3:20-22.

The point of the lesson is to learn to be a good servant.

With that, allow me to leave you with this question to consider, along with a little homework assignment until my next posting:

If you knew a disaster was coming what three things in your house would you try to save beside family members?

. . . and the homework assignment . . .

Read: Revelation 3:14-22

Take a few minutes to reflect on what Jesus had to say, and ask yourself these questions:
  • Why do you think that Jesus would want His disciples to sell their possessions and give to charity?
  • How can you be more effective at making purses that don’t wear out (disciples)?
  • Are you waiting expectantly for the Lord’s word each day?
  • Are you willing to prioritize His word above what you are doing?
Until next time . . . Godspeed!

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