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Monday, October 21, 2013

The Master as Slave

"He will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them." Lk 12:37

Luke's gospel regularly reminds us that Jesus wants his disciples to know that he is their servant and that they must serve one another and all those to whom they announce the Good News. This must have been a very difficult aspect of Jesus' message for most people who heard his challenge, especially the rulers of the Jewish community.

Accustomed to being served and celebrating their prominence in the community by the number of slaves they owned, those in power would have been horrified to hear that a master who comes home from a wedding to find his servants awake and waiting for him will wait upon them. This reversal of roles startles us even now.

Most of us live in hierarchical societies. There are tribal chiefs and bosses at work who expect and usually receive our cooperation without question. Because we are accustomed to listening more closely to those who pay us or have the freedom to demand certain actions from us, we do not expect our bosses to tell us to sit down so they can wait on us! Though we may chafe at their commands, we almost always submit to their orders, hoping someday to be in their place ourselves.

Nevertheless, Jesus is clear. If we want to follow him totally, we must sell all we have, even and especially our pride, in order to make clear to those to whom we preach that we are agents of their freedom, not their rulers. Washing their feet, listening to their stories, offering them food from our tables, and giving them clothes are all ways we express the power of God who became weak for our salvation.

Today, help someone who expects nothing from you.

Do you expect your leaders to be servants?

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