Summary: How is your servanthood?
We’re Number 1!!! We have the largest Sunday School! We have a dynamic ministry! Dr. Good-Words is the world’s leading authority on ________. We had the largest number of conversions and baptisms for the year! We support 500 missionaries! Our seminary has the most graduates of any other seminary in the world! Our annual budget is $3 million dollars!
Sometimes I feel like I am hearing a corporation’s report to the Chairman of the Board or some sales pitch when I hear Christians or a Christian organization speak of themselves. Frankly, it often sounds like bragging. It also sounds like they have a handle on God’s blessing that no one else has and that they are breaking their arm patting themselves on the back.
David got into trouble for numbering the people and I have some concern that in counting our "blessings" that we are suffering from the same pride when we have such a grandiose spiel about our sheep, shekels and service. ’Umbleness does not seem to be one of our strong suits.
In fact "peer pressure", among pastors leads to some really strange accounting systems. I once stood with a pastor that told another preacher that attendance at our church was 160 that week. I nearly fainted, but kept quiet. I was trying to figure where he was all week for I had not seen that where I was attending and I was sure that he was in the pulpit. Later, I asked him how he came up with that figure. He was counting the attendance for each service including Sunday School. The total was 160. I thought, Duh, that is "correct", but they were the same 40 people not 160 unique individuals, which was what I was positive that the other guy was thinking when he heard 160. That is what is spawned of our running churches like a business rather than a ministry, but that is a different sermon. We even have a church in the area called God, Inc. for crying out loud!! Don’t get me started or I won’t get this sermon done for another hundred pages. C];-)}|>
6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (KJV)
I find it very interesting that the Lord starts this passage off by saying what a marvelous and miraculous thing we could do with mustard seed faith. A mustard seed is a mighty small thing. A mountain is well, a mountain. If I possess a puny thing, I can do a mountainous thing. Where does the glory lie, in what I possess or in what God can do with it? And all God’s people would answer correctly and say, "Why in what God does with my meager faith, of course!"
Our theology is often letter perfect but the application of it is pitiful. If all the glory is in what God can do with our puniness then why do we strut and puff like we are so wonderful? Indeed, since none of us have tossed a mountain yet it appears that we do not even have mustard seed size faith. Therefore if any of the things that I mentioned in the opening paragraph our true it only stands to reason that God should get even greater glory since what we possess is obviously microscopic and yet He brings about such huge results.
Not only do we strut ourselves but we get all "het up" because we think we are just doing so much for God and expect Him to lavish us with bonuses and blessings and appropriate vacation or personal goodies. What hoo ha! That is American and Union maybe but not necessarily Kingdom thinking. Military men get medals for going above and beyond the call of duty, but we are taught here that there is no such thing in service to the Master.
We think that showing up a couple of times a week and throwing a couple of bucks in the plate is really busting our spiritual hump. If we pray a few times a week or crack open the Book for a few minutes a day that we are near the breaking point and we do not want to be stressed out. We are backslidden, whining weenies! It is no wonder our homes and nations are in such a sad shape. We are self-gratifying ingrates. We are unprofitable servants.