Reflections: November 5, 2020
Thursday of the 21st Week after Trinity
By Aaron Fenker
"The greatest among you shall be your servant." (Matthew 23:11)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Yeah. How about, no. We don't do service, servitude. Sure, we know we're supposed to help others, but we don't really want to. We may chisel out time in our lives to do it, but it's not much. I have to care for myself, and the hour I put in volunteering or helping a classmate or doing my chores is enough. The only reason I do the little I do, is for that little bit of good feeling that powers me. Or I know that if I help a student in one class he can help me in another one I need help in or maybe even pay me a bit.
No matter which way you slice it, whether we're in it for the money, the praise, the good feeling. We're not in it for the sake of our neighbor, not all the time. Service is great, don't get me wrong, but service is greatest when it doesn't take much time and effort. Or maybe our time and effort are determined by who it is we're helping. The cute boy or girl, sure. But not the person we don't like, and certainly not our little brother!
Jesus is different for your sake, to save you. He's not primarily an example of servitude for you. More importantly, "The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many," FOR YOU. He gave up His life, shed His blood, to buy you back from your sin of selfishness. And Jesus is all about serving you His salvation. He doesn't place heavy burdens on you. His yoke is easy and His burden light. He gives you His Name, the Name above every Name, for you have been baptized into Him.
He gives you His service and new life. By the work of the Spirit, Jesus bears fruit in your life. "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" are what Jesus grows in you. "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in My and I in Him." And so His Supper strengthens you "in faith toward God and fervent love toward one another."
Our flesh only wants to help and serve when it gets something out of it. Acting that way isn't the way Christians act. "Whoever says he loves God but hates his brother is a liar." The solution isn't you. Christ has saved you from all that. In Him and through Him alone, you're eternally great--forgiven, saved, a baptized child of God. He does it, not you. He's also given you as a living sacrifice to those around you. He'll work through you to do it. "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
-Rev. Aaron T. Fenker is the pastor of Bethlehem and Immanuel Lutheran churches in Bremen, KS.
He is also the dean of theology for Higher Things.
He is also the dean of theology for Higher Things.
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