Summary: This text has some very important thingsto teach us on how we are to relate to our heavenly Father.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 45
“What Does God Owe Me?”
I suppose that we all have driven by people standing on the corner of an entrance or exit ramp to the freeway holding a sign, "Will Work For Food" or something similar. I heard of one man who was more honest than most, his sign read, "I Need A Beer, Not Work."
Many of the others in reality only wanted a handout or money for something to drink, but tried to appear to have a genuine need and thus the offer to work if given the opportunity. If you were to stop and offer many of them a job I suspect that you would get many excuses why they needed cash and could not work right at that moment.
In America, we have gotten our work ethic a little twisted we don’t just work to make a living; we work for perks. We want regular bonuses, appreciation awards and for sure yearly raises. We want a corner office with a window; and an expense account and a company car are not bad either. I realize of course, that these perks are associated with the corporate world, but you know what they are in your particular line of work.
Now, what happens if we do not get these perks? Well, we moan and we grumble, then we may start having to take more sick time and the projects assigned to us somehow just do not get finished as timely as they once did. All sorts of other negative behaviors that we may manifest are justified by the lack of perks and getting what we deserved. Isn’t it amazing that somehow, having a job and a paycheck are not enough any more.
Now, let’s translate this into to our Christian service. The same attitude seems to have crossed over from the secular world and into our church work. Just the fact that we are saved from Hell and on our way to Heaven are not enough. The pastor better pat me on the back regularly or he is not getting much out of me. I think everyone should recognize that I should be a teacher. And If I do teach I think that my giftedness should be recognized. I would like for it to be quietly and tastefully noted that I am the best giver in the congregation. If I am a singer then I want to be asked to sing a solo as often as I would like. If am a man, then I should be in a leadership position, preferable a Deacon. The list could go on for a long time, but you get the picture.
What happens when lose our perspective of being servants? First, we have a little roast preacher at every opportunity. Our giving and our attendance become sporadic. Of course, that means that our responsibilities that we took on are carried out by someone else, while we pout at home or are out looking for a church where we are more appreciated. If things don’t go our way then; all of a sudden the deacons are lazy and the teachers dull and boring. We just do not “feel” the love or Spirit in the church anymore. We suddenly outgrew the preacher and we just aren’t being fed anymore. He must be backslidden and “really” preaching anymore.
Even worse, this attitude begins to affect how we look at God; He is just not blessing us like we deserve. He just does not understand our needs or what we have to put up with to serve at that ungrateful church. He has forgotten that we are the most spiritual persons in that church and that neither our giftedness nor our wisdom is truly appreciated. God is just so fortunate to have us in that church to keep that pastor and deacons straight. I just do not know what He would do without us there. Oh, really? Let’s look at God’s viewpoint. [I am indebted to Ronald Shultz’s sermon “Will work for Perks” - www. Sermoncentral. Com]
In last week’s message we saw that as Christians we have two-fold responsibility to others; first, a responsibility to not be a stumbling block and secondly, a responsibility to forgive those who have sinned against us.
When the disciples realized that Jesus was teaching that we must forgiving those who hurt us, even repeatedly, they were overwhelmed. Their response (v. 5) was basically, "Lord this is too much, I just can’t forgive others like this, it’s beyond my abilities and I’d need more faith to do this." They felt incapable of adhering or living up to the high standards Jesus had on forgiveness. The disciples thought that they lacked sufficient faith and Jesus responded that they lacked a accurate understanding of faith. Jesus told them that it was not so much a matter of great faith as it was obedience to a great God.