‘Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will make them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.’
I have noticed there are four types of waiters, I don’t mean by this those who earn their living by serving customers in cafes and restaurants. I mean how we wait for an important person or event. There are those who I call the twitchers, who are ready at least half an hour before the expected time, hat on, handbag on the crook of the elbow, gloves to hand, peaking surreptitiously around the edge of the curtain as they don’t want to seem to be anxious. Whilst waiting they have probably consumed at least two chocolate biscuits worth of nervous energy. The workers are a complete contrast. They barely notice the impending time so consumed they are with the tasks of the day. When the doorbell rings they have to hurriedly pack up whilst struggling to get their arm through the jacket sleeve, whilst hopping in a bid to get their shoe on as they fall out the front door. The ‘Perry Como’ however is the definition of laid back. For those who have yet to draw their pension, Perry was the definition a relaxed crooner, so laid back he was virtually horizontal. He died as he appeared to perform, asleep. The Perry Como is mildly surprised but pleasantly so when the important guest arrives, however do not expect any provision to have been made. Finally, there is the wastrel, so consumed with self-gratification that they are not only not prepared they couldn’t care less who the visitor is, what they want, may need or bring.
Jesus had different categories in his story of servants waiting for the arrival of their master returning home from a wedding. They did not know what time that might be, all they knew was he would return. In this story Jesus’ words to the servants were keep your work clothes on and the lights of the house on. Be ready to welcome him and have everything ready. In other words, stay on top of the job and don’t be caught out. v36 The master wasn’t just pleased and congratulating the servants for being fine servants, maybe giving them a bonus of an extra day off. No, he reversed the situation and turned from master to servant, he made them the people of honour and served them. v37
In this brief story Jesus encapsulates the extraordinary kingdom of God. Where the king becomes the servant and honours the faithful servants, way above their rights. What can we learn from this opening to Jesus’ story? Firstly, it was Jesus who is the story teller and therefore needs to be taken seriously because he was teaching about himself. He is the returning master in the story. The people of God are the servants, initially the nation of Israel, as his story was addressed to the crowd who at the beginning of the chapter were trampling over each other to hear what he had to say. 12.1 But the kingdom of God is for all who believe in him and so the story is for us, should we call him Lord, as well. What is it then to be dressed for action this advent as we wait for him? Nobody has put it better than the apostle Paul.‘Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.’ Ephesians 6.14-18Have we looked in the spiritual mirror recently to see how we are dressed while we wait for the Lord?
Do our own lives conform to the servant leadership of Christ?
Are our eyes on the goal of our inheritance in Christ?
The Blessing Zimbabwe