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Bible Ballistics: BBs #250   How Great “I” Art???

One of the favorite songs of Christendom is “How Great Thou Art”, but it seems in our day that we have replaced the pronoun “Thou” with “I”! We hear so much banter in these politically charged days that we seem to be forgetting that our allegiance is to God, not man, self, worldly ideologies or material things. Jesus talks about our attitude of service.

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

But which of you,

having a servant

plowing or feeding cattle,

will say unto him by and by,

when he is come from the field,

Go and sit down to meat?

And will not rather say unto him,

Make ready wherewith I may sup,

and gird thyself,

and serve me,

till I have eaten and drunken;

and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?

Doth he thank that servant

because he did the things

that were commanded him?

I trow not. (trow=think)

10 So likewise ye,

when ye shall have done all those things

which are commanded you,

say,

We are unprofitable servants:

we have done that

which was our duty to do.”   Luke 17:6-10

Unprofitable: (of an activity) not beneficial or useful.

What is Jesus telling us? Good question, and I don’t have all the answers, and even if I did we wouldn’t have time or space to cover them all; but I would like us to glean a few bits of encouragement and insight into our role as believers and followers of Jesus Christ.

The context of this passage is the great discussion about forgiveness, where Jesus has just called the disciples to forgive, not 70 times but 70X7, when we are asked for forgiveness (and that’s a subject for another day), and they asked Jesus to “Increase our faith”! Our passage is Jesus response to them, and His first response is to point out to them that “faith” is doesn’t have to be a “large” thing to be effective, but I think we often misunderstand what He is telling us. You see it’s not the “size” of my faith but the “size” of my God! Jesus goes on to remind us pointedly that we are the servants to God and NOT vice versa!

Faith is NOT a dictatorial right to command God to do what “I” want done. Rather, if I have come to God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, I have ‘bowed the knee’ to the King of kings and Lord of lords, and should be acknowledging that God is my master, which makes “me” the servant. Oh, I am the “servant”?

And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” Daniel 4:35

God IS God and regardless of the boastings of men, as to their ability, and/or standing before God, it would appear that God’s standard is NOT man’s. We see that Jesus goes on to give a scenario of “servant hood”, and shows us that the comfort and desires of the servant is not the ‘focus but the will and desires of the “master” of the servant.

Jesus says that when we have served our “shift” and the master is in need of personal service, HE doesn’t tell us to sit down and take care of ourselves, but to tend to HIS needs before we attend to our own. WHOA! Do what, don’t I have a “break” due? Well, maybe I do, and maybe I don’t, the point is, “I” am the servant and GOD is the master, and I am to understand to order of things. While I trust my God to know all things, and do what is good for me (because HE has promised He will), I am to realize that my place is to be available to the master for HIS pleasure.

Jesus goes on to say something that seems to fly in the face of reason in our culture of “selfies” and “greed”; Jesus asks a question, “Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him?” And His answer pulls most of us up short! Jesus, in our vernacular, said “NOT”! He tells the disciples:

So likewise ye,

when ye shall have done all those things

which are commanded you,

say,

We are unprofitable servants:

we have done that

which was our duty to do

So, what is our Lord saying to us? I believe Jesus is reminding us that we aren’t “good Christians” because we speak His name; we’re not “great Christians” because we think we are; we are “servants”, and “servants” are to seek to please the master, and when we have done only “that which was our duty to do” we are “unprofitable servants”, by definition our activity is “not beneficial or useful”! Why? Because we are saved by the grace of God and we are to serve Him from love and devotion, not meeting some artificial standard that men have set as that which makes a “good” Christian. There is only one test of our usefulness to God, and that is what God says about it.

As scripture tells us, we will all give and account to Him who “committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:23b). That is who Jesus was trusting, when He endured suffering for our salvation!

There is a day coming when God will judge all men—the righteous, the unrighteous, the deluded and the self-righteous, and the scripture tells us clearly that “self-righteousness” is totally useless.

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” Romans 3:10-11

I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands. Jeremiah 25:14b

So my challenge to all of us, especially to those who belong to Jesus, is to judge righteous judgment. Let’s have the “mind” of Christ as we live our lives in total submission to God the Father, Jesus the Son, and His precious Holy Spirit that He has given to dwell within us. It’s not the boasting that proves our righteousness, but the blood of Jesus working in us!

If we say that we have fellowship with him,

and walk in darkness,

we lie,

and do not the truth:

But if we walk in the light,

as he is in the light,

we have fellowship

one with another,

and the blood of Jesus Christ

his Son

cleanseth us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin,

we deceive ourselves,

and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:6-8

It’s your choice—which song are you singing? “How Great THOU Art” or “How Great “I” Art”!!! There is only one “great” God, and it’s NOT me—or you (Or anyone else for that matter)!!! Wake up and pay attention, the time is short!

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7