April 8 - Be a Ready Slave
Living in an era after the Abolition of Slavery, the idea of slaves obeying their masters is not fully understood. Just imagine that you are serving someone who has the absolute authority over your dear life, and imagine that you do not have a choice whether to obey or not since your life depends on your master’s pleasure. This is not what our mindset is when we read these parables. We think that we have a choice in our obedience to the Master. We treat Him like our earthly bosses, if they do not like us, we can find another job and be under another boss. The fact is, we do not have another boss, God is our only Master and we do not have a choice.
So when most translated versions have “servant” in place of “slave” to fit the context, our understanding of the teaching could be watered down. A servant works eight hours a day in most countries, but a slave works round the clock. During the day, as the manager of the Master’s house, he is to provide for the needs of other slaves like food in the proper time. Since he is over his Master’s household, he should not be lazy and neglect his duties. When the Master comes during the daytime, he is supposed to be ready to give an account.
But what if the Master comes back during nighttime? The same thing applies. He should stay dressed for action, gird up his clothes and ready to serve. During the night, he has to keep the lamps burning in order not to fall asleep during the most important hour. When the Master comes back during the night, he would be awake and not asleep for he has to open the door for his Master. He cannot demand a reasonable eight hours of sleep for he is not in a position to demand. He is just a slave!
It is very difficult to find this type of slaves nowadays. Most think that they are only servants, protected by labor laws and regulations. When they serve God, there are conditions and demands. If they do not get what they wanted, there could be a strike to reflect their sentiments. Most of the ministry is self-centered, to do something great out of pride and getting the appreciation and praise of others as their reward. They are not ready to serve others or God, they only serve themselves and their interests. They do not trust the Master, thinking that He is too harsh or too demanding. This is the condition of the church in the twenty-first century. We must go back to the first century and understand what Jesus said in context.
You are accountable to God as a slave is to his earthly master. From him to whom is entrusted much, much more is demanded from him. To whom much is given, they will demand the more. This is God’s principle for our service and ministry. Are you a ready slave, dressed for action; or you are a servant only?
Ps 50:1-6 Deut 32:28-52 Luke 12:35-59 Prov 12:24