Have you ever read a familiar passage of Scripture that previously had a negative nuance that suddenly enlightened you to the depths of God’s love? That’s what happened to me recently when I was reading Luke 12:35-37,
“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.”
Every other time I read that passage, my mind was focused on the servant—me. My self-centeredness kept me from being blown away by what the passage was really centered on—the Master—God. It is so humbling and amazing that God knows what would force me to grasp that indeed He does love me more than I could ever ask or think. When He comes, He is going to come to me—his faithful servant—and invite me to a banquet where He serves me. He will have me recline at the table, and He will wait on me. How could that be? Why would He do that? What causes Him to think about giving more than He has already given to me?
God is not warning me to be watchful like “wait until your father comes home” — the way I had previously interpreted this passage. God is telling me “wait for me like you used to wait for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve”. The party is going to really get started when Jesus comes back. What kind of party will it be? Will it be one where I am wearing myself out working so hard to create a hospitable atmosphere for Jesus? No, what I am waiting on is the gift of reclining at Jesus’ table and being served by Him.
He knows that I am working hard down here. He knows that earthly living with sin and all has forced me to rely totally on faith. He knows that serving Him is sad and laced with joy and suffering. There is a time for that, but it is a limited time. The hospitality of heaven is an eternal banquet. I’m sure I will get to serve Him as He serves me, but it will be different from the hard kind of serving I am doing now.
This reality causes me to think differently about what will make it good for the servant who is watchful. While Jesus is gone, He asks me to wait and serve. He has given me special opportunities that He designed just for me. He tells me that the servants who do these little jobs for Him will feel good. Jesus does not show favoritism. He isn’t going to say, “Debi did more for me that Jane, so I’m going to offer her better hospitality in Heaven”. It’s not like that at all. I think the phrase “it will be better for that servant” means that I will enjoy Jesus’ extravagant hospitality more because I was faithful to do the few things He asked of me while I lived on earth. You know how it is if a Hostess invites you to a gathering where she is doing most of the work. Perhaps she asks you to bring rolls. You show up at her house and confess you forgot the rolls. She is so gracious with you and pulls some rolls out of her freezer to serve. You enjoy her hospitality and all of her work, but you don’t feel as good as if you had done the small thing she asked of you.
Imagine that Jesus is waiting with His towel ready to welcome you to heaven, wash your feet and serve you. You will enjoy it more as you served Him here on earth.