(Part 83)


June 27, 2015

Today’s gospel:  Matthew 8:5-17

We are servant leaders who are warriors in God’s army. We should be able to relate to the centurion in today’s reading.

First, as servant leaders we should be concerned about our subordinates. “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” (v.6). Indeed servant leaders are called upon to care for the flock. We ought to look to their well-being, particularly their spiritual well-being. Unfortunately some servant leaders care only for themselves, looking to be served rather than to serve.

Second, in relation to the Master whom we serve, we must have humility and faith. “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” (v.8). We indeed are unworthy servants. In our sinfulness we are not worthy to serve a holy God. In our fallen humanity we are not worthy to take hold of the divine work entrusted to us. But God does give us the privilege. That should humble us. Unfortunately some servant leaders succumb to pride.

Then we must have faith in Jesus. We must know that he is the victorious King who is all-powerful, who commands nature and demons. Jesus is able to accomplish what he desires, and that is salvation for humankind. Now he entrusts such work to us. We must do this work in faith, knowing we are equipped, empowered by the Spirit, and share in Christ’s victory. Unfortunately some servant leaders lack such faith and become intimidated by the enemy or the difficulties to be faced.

Lacking faith, we end up lacking power and effectiveness in ministry. Jesus says that signs and wonders will accompany his people on mission. Do we believe? Do we act accordingly? Jesus continues to tell us as he sends us forth, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” (v.13a).

Humility makes us take the lowest place and look only to Jesus for fruit in our work. Faith makes us soar to the highest and greatest accomplishments as the Spirit of Jesus is able to work in and through us. Then, again humility protects us from destructive pride and enables us to give the glory only to God.

Pride looks to the self, whether in striving for position or power, or in depending on personal resources for the work. Those are guarantees for ultimate failure. Humility and faith look only to God, aware of our nothingness, self-emptied and ready to be filled by Him. It is then that we can experience signs and wonders in our work. Do we have such mountain-moving faith? May we amaze our Master and hear him say, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” (v.10b).

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