Friday, February 18, 2011

We are Unprofitable Servants

How easy it is easy for us to forget what God has done for us. Suddenly, God ceases to be our Savior and becomes our enemy. In the book of Numbers we read of Moses’ struggles with the newly liberated Hebrews. God saves them from slavery, but this is quickly forgotten. It seems to me that often trials in our lives are “wildernesses” that we must walk through before we can receive the peace and joy that God has promised us. The Israelites will soon forget what God has done for them: how He had mercy on them and by His own free love, gave them the Promised Land. Pride is something that many of us struggle with (at least I do), and trials teach us to humble ourselves. For, how amazing the Promised Land must have seemed to the new arrivers after wandering in the wilderness for forty years.  Let us not forget that the trials we face today do not compare to the joys we may face tomorrow."I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Romans 18-21).

Moses is called to lead a group of stubborn, angry Jews who have quickly forgotten God’s goodness and love; they are not willing to make sacrifices because they do not really have faith that God will keep his promise.  In their wavering “faith”, they call God a liar. It is so hard to have faith when we are faced with challenges, but it precisely during those times that God is testing us. He tries so hard to remind the Hebrews over and over again that it is not because of their own merit that He has saved them, but because he cares for them. The Hebrews are really in debt to God, but they do not realize it. "The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession" (Deuteronomy 7:6 NIV). We, even more than them, are indebted to Christ because He sacrificed Himself for us. As Lent approaches, let us remember that our sacrifices are nothing in comparison to what God sacrificed to liberate us. The Hebrews were not willing to give up meat, a luxury they had probably taken for granted in Egypt. In Egypt, while slaves, the Hebrews overlooked all of their blessings; after they were liberated from slavery, they still overlooked them. They felt that God was their servant. They had gotten it all wrong. As Christ said in the parable of the unworthy servant, “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do’ “ (Luke 17:10). We are and will always be indebted to God. No sacrifice is too large. God always gives us much more than we would ever dream to ask for. Let us not overlook the blessings in our lives.

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