(Friends: Most Saturdays for the duration of this year, I plan on sharing a message that relates to the character and nature of God, and our response thereunto. I hope you will find it helpful, and as always, thanks for allowing us to send the devotionals to you. Glen).
The Saturday Series - 41
"The Easy Yoke"
Consider the Lord's parable regarding a man who bestowed varying amounts of money on three servants, five "talents" to one, two to another, and one to a third servant (Matthew 25:14-15). The first two men wisely stewarded their responsibility, doubling their master's investment. The third servant, however, fearfully buried his lord's money and earned no return. The narrative provides a striking and illuminating reason for his failure.
"Then he that had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strayed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth" (Matthew 25:24-25).
Nothing in the parable confirms the servant's perception of his master as a "hard man." Indeed, the lord's response to the first two servants indicates a most generous heart desirous to reward good stewardship. Faithfulness regarding a few things led to further responsibility over many things, and also the blessed invitation, "Enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (Matthew 25:23). The master was not hard nor was he at all unjust. Sadly, however, the third servant failed to accurately recognize the true heart and way of his employer.
"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
The Lordship of Jesus calls us to the most wondrous of masteries, a truth we must know and in which we must grow. He is the most winsome of rulers, to the degree His provision of empowering grace precedes our calling to obedience. He enables us to love God by imparting the very love of God into our hearts when we believe. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). Thereby we trust and obey by the supply of His living presence, namely, the "power that worketh in us" (Ephesians 3:20). He leads us not as a tyrannical master, but rather as our elder Brother who guides us unto the Father who calls us to joyfully serve Him as sons and daughters. "Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Matthew 28:10; Galatians 4:7). To know Him rightly thus leads us to glad service even when great sacrifice is involved in our devotion to God and others. "They departed… rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name" (Acts 5:41).
The third servant was cast into "outer darkness," reflecting his inner darkness regarding the master. He did not know the heart of his employer. Thus, he did not serve him well. The lesson both promises and warns us. We must know our Lord rightly to serve Him well. We must increasingly know our Lord rightly to serve Him well. Obedience and service flow from the fount of grace as received through faith. The order must never be reversed, and we must realize that responsibility fulfilled always proceeds from relationship experienced. Our Heavenly Father is not interested in mere service without heart. Nor should such spiritual ignorance and perversion interest us. Long ago, He severely rebuked Israel "because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things" (Deuteronomy 28:47). The lesson speaks to us. Know the Lord as He actually is. Understand His truth. Trust and submit unto Him in the light of His sublime goodness, integrity, and generosity. Serve Him accordingly, with grateful devotion and expectation. Great returns on His investment in us await, including further blessed responsibility, present gladness of heart, and the joyous anticipation of one day hearing, "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!"
"Serve the Lord with gladness."
"We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
Weekly Memory Verse
To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.