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Service and Rewards

(Matthew 20:1-16)

Lesson 9 -- first quarter 2000
January 30, 2000

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1999, Christian Light Publications

The service imperative. All of us are servants. We serve the flesh, or we serve the Spirit. We serve ourselves, or we serve others. We serve the world, or we serve Jesus. I believe most of us reading this want to serve Jesus, and if we are Christians, that is good, because all Christians must serve Jesus. Why shall we serve Jesus?

The need. Serving on the basis of need applies to both sides of the service equation, that is, to both the servant as well as the served one. As servants, our faithful service frequently enhances our sense of worth, accomplishment and fulfillment. So we need to serve. However, to serve effectively we must get beyond our own sense of need. We must serve because the One we serve needs our service. It isn't that He can't do the job Himself, and it isn't that He can't get someone else to do the job for Him, and it isn't that He couldn't make the rocks rise up to get His tasks accomplished. It is that He needs me, you, us to serve Him. So we need to serve. Interestingly, this business of serving Jesus becomes more practical (and more difficult) in light of Matthew 25:40--"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Get it?! This need imperative for service includes the needs of my fellow humans! If you are unwilling to serve "that certain person" then you just as well not try serving "That Certain Person"!

The call. Jesus calls each of His people to serve. He makes no exceptions and allows no excuses. He calls us to serve Him (and don't forget that includes others!) with the same zeal and sacrifice with which we served ourselves. Take time to meditate on the implications and applications of Romans 6:19--"as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness." And He calls us to serve Him, not out of mere obligation and duty, but because we love Him. Do we?

The reward. Let's not forget nor minimize this imperative for service. We could argue that the privilege of serving the Lord Himself ought to be reward enough for service. We could make the point that service motivated by love needs no reward. But I don't think even God makes these points. Otherwise, why would He encourage us with the assurance that He doesn't ever forget and will surely reward all according to their works? And why bother telling us that in due season we shall reap if we don't faint and quit? And what about that ultimate welcome: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant...enter thou into the joy of thy Lord"?

What is right. When our imperatives for service are righteous we won't fret about what is fair and equal. Our concern will be for meeting the need, answering the call and accepting whatever reward the Master deems right.

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