Abundance in Serving the Lord

Matthew 8:18-22
Amos 2:6-10,13-16 / Ps 50

Teacher, I will follow you wherever You go.
(Matthew 8:19)

True Christians need not ever doubt,
By the Spirit we’ve been inspired;
This is what faith is all about,
Nothing less from us is required.

When Jesus saw that the crowd was pressing around Him, He gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. A scribe approached and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest His head.” Another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But Jesus answered to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.” (Matthew 8:18-22)

Reflection

At first it may strike us as strange that our Lord would reject one who was eager to follow Him, and yet force another to come with Him and abandon his duty to bury his father first. But upon reflection, we realize that in the case of the first ‘wannabe’ follower, not everyone is called or qualified to serve in God’s special ministry or vocation. And in the case of the second, Jesus is saying that nothing is more important than serving in the kingdom of God. Let those who are without spiritual life be the ones to bury the dead, who no longer need to be saved; but those who have life in the Spirit have a greater duty to the living. In effect, Jesus is saying, “The harvest is rich, but the laborers are few. All hands on deck!” In the Gospel passage of St. Luke, Jesus even said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk.9:62).

As servants of the Lord in His mission, we all face various hardships. There is no easy way around it. Once we have committed to serve, there will be trials and difficulties to face and endure. Sometimes we may even have to sacrifice quality time for our loved ones. But we take hope in our Lord’s greatest missionary, St. Paul, who said, “God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8) Whatever the pains of service, the greater the gains in return.

A brother in Christ once said, “One verse in scripture that has guided and sustained me over the years in serving the community has been this verse: ‘Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Mt. 6:33) By seeking God’s kingdom, he understood it to mean serving God by bringing His message of salvation to others. He was right.

When serving Him in our ministry starts to become tedious, we have only to recall His words: “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as ransom for many.” (Mt.20:26-28) As servants of God, we do not seek our own glory, nor pursue a personal agenda. Our only concern is how to give glory to the Lord. True servants of the Lord do not seek the credit, but God’s honor and glory shine through their lives.

How do we attain a servant’s heart? By making the world see Jesus in us. The world will see that there is something different about us. Despite the difficult task, we will share joy. In place of the burdens of the service, they will experience lightness of heart, and the willingness to share our time and the Word God wants us to impart..

Serving Your community is truly a joy for us, Lord, because it is really You Whom we serve. Grant us a steadfast heart, so that we may lead others to follow you. Amen.

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