45 “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 47 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 48 But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ 49 and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 50 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, 51 and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Maybe I am a naive optimist, but I believe firmly, when things look like they are out of control on the earth I need to begin to get excited for things of heaven. When I see hardship on the earth, I also become more expectant of an outpouring of God’s glory and for Him to break through in unexpected ways. When things look uncertain it’s a certain sign that Jesus is about to do a new thing.
I think this is how Jesus taught us to perceive the coming of the Kingdom on earth. In Matthew 24:3 the disciples ask Jesus how they will know when His second coming is happening. Jesus responds by giving them clear signs and markers that signify the end. Here is the short list of what He says. Many deceptive leaders and teachers claiming false spiritual authority, war, famine, earthquakes, heightened persecution of His followers, betrayal among believers who are not sincere, rampant sin on the earth. Are you encouraged yet? While these things are definitely intimidating and are clear indicators to watch for. They are not meant to be the focus of our hearts. They are signs, to lead us to watch and prepare for what we truly desire. Our great King Jesus and His glorious Kingdom filling the earth. It’s important to watch for signs, but to never make them the point. On a long road trip you would never stop at the first road sign you come across and just stare at it with awe as if it were your final destination. You briefly recognize it for what it is and its importance of leading you where you're supposed to be. While continuing to move faithfully forward into your destination.
It’s the same with signs on the earth that point to Jesus’s second coming. If you're becoming overwhelmed or overly focused with calamity and the signs of the times you are probably forgetting the point of where they are supposed to lead you. I believe this is true for all calamity and pain on the earth. In Jesus, all suffering leads to greater levels of His glory being revealed. Nothing is wasted in His Kingdom.
So how do we respond? The short answer is never fear. We can walk in confidence when we know where the signs are leading us. Even more so there is a greater level of response and responsibility for the mature Christian. Jesus speaks on the position and posture of the sensible servant. We are to be disciples who are clear minded, neither caught up in the chaos of the world, nor hiding from the dangers of its storms. We are servants of the Most High God, who have devoted hearts and can respond accordingly to the birthing pains of the world preparing us for the Glory of Jesus to be poured out in a greater measure. Jesus says there is a reward for such a servant who takes this to heart. So how do we prepare ourselves? How do we consecrate ourselves as a diligent servant ready to do the preparation work for Jesus’s glory in the midst of chaos?
Jesus gives us some clues in the text above that I want to expound on in my points below…
Be prayerful and sober minded about where the end of the story is headed. It’s hard to remember sometimes that this world will not last forever. Truthfully, that reality can even be a little scary at times. The truth though, is that you were made for such a time as this and we can position our hearts through prayer to not be overwhelmed. Instead, praying and becoming effective as a disciple during trying times. In Revelation 22 there is a closing prayer that is happening between the Bride of Christ (the church, you and me) and the Spirit of God. The prayer is a beautiful invitation for anyone who is willing to enjoy the eternal fruit of knowing Jesus and a stern warning for anyone who would try to malign or manipulate the words of Jesus for personal profit or gain. The end of the prayer is the Spirit and the Church saying in unison “Come Lord Jesus.” This is a prayer that we should be learning to pray if we want to be mature and sensible servants. Even though things seem out of control and chaotic,we pray, “Jesus come”. Even though we feel that the calamity and eventual passing of this world is too much to bear at times, we pray “Jesus come”. I believe that as we learn to pray into His divine plans, we become more secure and available to participate in them. Prayer is a petition to heaven, but it’s also the strengthening of your spirit. This prayer is a reminder to our spirit that we are equipped in Jesus to walk strong and faithful in every situation. This life on earth is not the point of our existence. He is, and we long for His return and glory.
Be intentional and vigilant about stewarding what God has given you to be responsible for. One of the great tricks of the enemy is to get you to believe that your responsibilities are insignificant to the greater plans of God. For example, a youth pastor will often feel their role is not as important as a senior pastor, or maybe it’s a stepping stone from a lesser title to a greater one. Or maybe somebody who volunteers to do sound feels less anointed and significant then the worship leader. This most certainly is a lie, and a scheme to cause people to be un-invested in the call they are currently walking in. As long as you're always looking for a greater position or title, you will always be ineffective where you currently are responsible. Every calling is paramount and eternally important in the Kingdom. It’s an error and rebellious to God's strategy for your life to think otherwise. Ironically, you rob yourself of His promotion in your life to fall into this trap.
Your life is not your own. The point of God’s glory is not to bless your life. Though the result of walking in intimacy with and obedience to God while seeking His glory, will certainly lead to a blessed and fruitful existence. This is hard to remember, especially when life is unsure and feels unfavorable. In my opinion this is the main reason why people walk away from faith and get swept up into sin. They forget that they are not the point of the master plan. Though it seems counterintuitive to our flesh, freedom is knowing that your life is fulfilled in service to God. Part of the sanctification process is dying daily to fleshly desire in order to be made ready for heavenly purposes. Our faith is the only faith, where you learn to die to self in order to discover what you were really made for.
The world is crazy and it’s only getting more intense with each passing year. I am praying that with the growing intensity that my heart would grow more in love and involved with Him and His plan.