October 04, 2012

The Master Who Serves

Luke 12:35-37

“He will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.”
—Luke 12:37


The servants in today’s parable are waiting for their master’s return from a wedding banquet. They are prepared to greet him at the door and care for his every need, to meet his requests with their dutiful devotion.

Most of us would look at the beginning of this passage and stress the necessity of being dressed for service, attentively waiting for Christ’s return. After all, as servants of the master, we must dedicate ourselves to serve Christ.

But something unusual happens. The master returns, dresses himself in work clothes, and serves his own servants. He prepares a sumptuous feast for the servers. The custodians, kitchen help, floor scrubbers, and dish washers recline in lounge chairs while the master bows in front of them to fulfill their every wish.

What a strange parable! But it’s no more outlandish than the grace of God. Central to the kingdom of God is the character of the king. The master reveals himself as the best and most conscientious servant of all. The master puts our needs first and thinks about us before his own desires. The master’s attention is always directed toward us.

When we grasp the servant heart of God, all devotion motivated by guilt, all legalistic performance, all superficial compliance to God’s will vanishes. Overwhelmed with the grace of God, we offer all of ourselves in return.

Servant God, your giving is unfathomable, your devotion to us is unreasonable. Lord, etch your character into us. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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