I join several other ladies at church for Bible study on Tuesday nights. We’re working through a topical study based in Proverbs, and last night’s topic was pride. I’m sure you can imagine how deeply we were all affected by the passages, questions, and discussion from that lesson!
At one point the conversation turned toward our sense of entitlement. Society convinces us that we deserve reward for good behavior or rest after work well done, and we tend to agree! At least, we agree until we see ourselves in the mirror of Scripture.
A passage in Luke stands out to me in relation to this entitlement attitude.
Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” Luke 17:7-10
That sounds rather appalling to us, does it not? To a culture that has fought hard to see people treated equally and to end the oppression of any man, the idea that Jesus would treat us like this seems repulsive.
Look back a couple of verses, though, and see what preceded these words of Jesus.
The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" Luke 17:5
Going back even further, Jesus warns his disciples that stumbling blocks will come, and they must not be those stumbling blocks for anyone else. They must be willing to forgive. Luke places these verses after the stories of the prodigal son, the unrighteous steward, and the rich man and Lazarus. In every parable, humility is praised and pride is strongly denounced. Those who show greatest faith are those who find themselves in the greatest positions of humility.
Whose condition is more humble than a slave who has no rights?
Paul spoke frequently of being the bondservant of Christ. Having an attitude such as that leaves a child of God considering nothing but the will of God. He does not consider his own comfort. His time is not his own. His personal desires mean nothing. Everything lives in submission to the will of God.
I do not act like a slave. I act as if I am entitled. Entitled to my time, my desires, my hopes, my dreams, my comfort, my welfare, and on and on and on. No wonder my faith remains so small! If I truly submitted myself as a slave, I would find that my Master is perfect. I would see that He supplies all my needs as a part of the accomplishment of His will. I would understand that every ounce of energy, time, desire, and will surrendered to Him is used to perfection, accomplishing what I could never imagine. I would see a perfect life.
But all of this requires that I surrender myself to a life of slavery. I must surrender my mentality of entitlement. I must acknowledge that nothing is my own.
Will I choose to be a slave?