Always Be Ready

Jesus then taught his students the importance of readiness (130):  Always stay focused on God; always be ready to serve God.

God is like a master who comes home from a wedding & finds his servants ready & waiting to serve him, even if he doesn’t return until after midnight.

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In fact, God is so pleased with such faithful servants that he will actually serve them!  God will bless such faithful servants in ways that will make them happy beyond measure.

Keep this in mind, though.  If a homeowner knew that a thief planned to break into his home at a specific time, that homeowner would definitely be home at that time, ready to prevent the break-in.  He would not let the thief break into his house.

However, God’s timing is not predictable like that.  You must always be ready to meet God, because I will return to you at a time when you’re not expecting me.

Peter asked Jesus: “Master, is this teaching for everyone, or just for us?”  Jesus applied his teaching — both to his chosen witnesses and to all his followers – with this illustration:

A master sometimes needs to set a manager over his household.  If the manager carries out his responsibilities effectively & efficiently, the master will reward him & promote him to greater responsibility.

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But if the manager neglects his responsibilities & abuses his position of authority, the master will punish him severely.

The bottom line is this: the more God allows you to do in his service, the more God will expect you to do in his service.

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(130) Luke 12:35-48

Leading By Forgiving

Jesus continued teaching his students about leadership, emphasizing the importance of forgiveness & reconciliation (102).

“If a member of God’s family sins against you, discuss the matter with him privately. If he listens to you, you are on the road to reconciliation with that brother.

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“But if he refuses to listen to you in your private conversation, then take one or two other brothers with you as neutral observers, and go to discuss the matter with him again.

“And if that does not bring resolution, and if the observers agree that your brother is at fault, then get your church leaders to intervene.

“And if he will not listen to the church leaders, then you should keep your distance from that brother.

“Keep your eyes on heaven. You must learn to forbid here on earth only what is forbidden in heaven.  You must learn to allow here on earth only what is allowed in heaven.

“When it’s impossible to resolve a dispute with another member of God’s family all by yourself, get other family members involved.  When two or three of you pray together about the matter, you’ll get a better grasp of God’s perspective.”

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Then Peter asked Jesus, “Master, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times must I forgive him? Seven times?”  To emphasize the essential importance of God’s command to forgive, even someone who repeatedly sins against you, Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven!”

 

(102) Matthew 18:15-22