Lebanon Reporter

September 27, 2013

Are you a star or a servant for the Lord?


Lebanon Reporter

---- — It’s been said that there are basically two types of people in the world: the stars and the servants. We are all familiar with the stars. The stars spend a major portion of their lives in the spotlight. They are the people whose names are recognized by others all over the country and sometimes all over the world. They are the ones who have the leading roles in movies or television shows, or who are the most talented athletes in their sport, or who get elected to the highest offices in our government, especially at the state and national levels. They are the people who get paid the high salaries for what they do. We look up to these stars because of the successes they’ve achieved, because of what they’ve done with their minds and their bodies to reach their goals. We watch their activities because we want to know what they are doing outside of their publically visible roles. We buy magazines with their pictures on the cover to learn more about them. We want to see them as “real” human beings who are more like us than different from us. A servant is the other type of person. Being a servant is not a popular position in our society. Servants don’t get fame or receive recognition from others. Would you serve if you were told that there would be no pay, no reward and not even any thanks? That’s what Jesus is teaching in the parable in Luke 17:7-10. Jesus tells about a landowner whose servant works in his fields and tends his sheep. When the servant comes in from his work, would the landowner first invite the servant to sit down for dinner? Or would he more likely tell the servant to fix his meal and wait on him, and then afterwards the servant can eat? Will the landowner thank the servant for his work? No, Jesus says, because the servant was only doing what was required. So “when you have done everything required of you, you should say, ‘We servants deserve no special praise. We have only done our duty.’ ” (Luke 17:10 Commom English Bible) People today don’t like to have restraints placed on them. The idea of something being our duty is distasteful. Duty is based on moral or legal obligation or conformity to accepted standards of proper manners or behavior. Jesus is not trying to say that service is meaningless because it’s our duty as his followers. He’s attacking conceit and spiritual pride based on doing what is expected of us. Service should be a distinguishing characteristic of Christians in the world. Jesus is the role model for Christian service: he washed his followers’ feet in the upper room as they prepared to celebrate their last meal together before his death. Christians serve others because they are following Jesus’ example of doing what needs to be done. They are sharing God’s love with people in need and know it makes a difference in their lives. They humbly help others because one never knows when circumstances in one’s own life may suddenly change and then the helper may become the one needing help. Helping others when and where we can pleases God, gives us joy and makes us feel good that we were able to do so. Will you consider being a servant? The benefits are great for both individuals and the world. Karen Ottjes is pastor of the Thorntown United Methodist Church.