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“All Service is Equal with God”

Matthew 10: 40-42

June 28, 2020

 

Let’s recap chapter 10: Jesus is sending out the 12. In chapter 9 verse 37 He says, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” Jesus has seen how the crowds are harassed and helpless, in need of care and compassion, like sheep without a shepherd. The need is great, but the workers are few.

 

He empowers the 12 with authority to heal and drive out impure spirits and sends them out to all in need. Jesus tells them not to take money but depend on the hospitality of strangers. If they are not welcomed or the people will not hear their words, leave that home or town and shake the dust of their feet. You will never make everyone see or hear.

 

Jesus warns them they will be persecuted, hated. The student cannot be above the teacher. So they will be treated no differently than Jesus has been treated. He assures them that if they lose their life for His sake, they will find life everlasting.

 

Read Matthew 10: 40-42

 

In writing about today’s passage William Barclay suggest the passage sets out 4 links in the chain of salvation.

  1. God, out of whose love the whole process of salvation began.

  2. Jesus, who brought that message to mankind.

  3. The human messenger; the prophet who speaks, the good man or woman who is an example for all who see, the disciple who learns and in turn passes on to others the good news which they themselves have received.

  4. The believer who welcomes God’s messengers and God’s message and who thus finds life for his or her soul.

 

So I submit to you this question: Which link to salvation can you be? If we claim to be Christians we must fit into one of those categories or links, for if we do not, then we are putting on false fronts which, ultimately, only ever fool ourselves.

 

Let’s take a look. Obviously we cannot be the 1st or 2nd ones, though sometimes we seem to think we are the god of our own little reality…

When life is going well and we are facing no major hurdles, no huge stress, we forget to rely on God our Father, the creator of the universe. It’s easy to call on Him when times are tough or we are dealing with tragedy. The challenge is to remember that we are to place our trust in Him, and depend on Him always.

 

So where does that leave us? Are we the human messenger or the humble believer?

 

It seems to me we can be both.

 

When we think of a human messenger we often think of modern preachers like Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, Max Lucado, and others. But not everyone can be that type of messenger, proclaiming God’s word like a prophet. But, we can still be and important link to salvation for others…..

 

Maybe we are the good man or good woman who sets an example for others to see. We know we are always being watched or heard by kids and young people, even when it appears they are not paying attention. As a matter of fact, ask any parent and they can tell a story of when they didn’t think the kids were listening, and then being embarrassed by something that was repeated at the most inopportune time!! We are also being watched by the people that we meet or interact with in our daily lives. All these are influenced by what they see or hear from someone they look up to or admire. What example do we set? Do we practice the teachings of Christ every day, not just on Sundays? Do we exhibit the love of one another as Jesus taught? Showing compassion for those society has marginalized?

 

Sometimes we are the humble believer showing hospitality to God’s messengers, offering something as simple as a cool drink of water. If that water is what we have to give, and if we offer it in the service of God who loves us, Jesus assures us the reward is not different.

 

H. L. Gee, a prolific English writer, has a story.

There was a lad in a country village who, after a great struggle, reached the ministry. His helper in his days of study had been the village cobbler. The Cobbler, like so many of his trade, was a man of wide reading and far thinking, and he had done much for the lad. In due time the lad was licensed to preach. And on that day the cobbler said to him, “It was always my desire to be a minister of the gospel, but the circumstances of my life made it impossible. But you are achieving what was closed to me. And I want you to promise me one thing-I want you to let me make and cobble your shoes-for nothing-and I want you to wear them in the pulpit when you preach, and then I’ll feel you preaching the gospel that I always wanted to preach standing in my shoes.”

Beyond a doubt the cobbler was serving God as the preacher was, and his reward would one day be the same.

 

The beauty of this passage is how it equally emphasizes the importance of those who are gifted to do the so called great things, and those who are gifted to do the small things. Each will be rewarded by God. Arguments can be made as to which might be more important, but one thing cannot be argued: If we are serving God with all our heart, giving of what He has graced us with, whether great or small, His rewards to us are the same.

 

My friends, I challenge each of us to serve God each day in whatever way God has called upon us. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, may we be seen be others as representatives of the one, true God. May our each and every word, deed, even our thoughts reflect the peace, grace, and love of God in Christ Jesus, amen.

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