by John Jacob, Kuwait
1 Then He said to the disciples, "It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him."
5 And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."
6 So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you. 7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down to eat'? 8 But will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink'? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'" St. Luke 17: 1-10 (NKJB)
St. Luke 17: 1-10 speaks about Sin, Faith & Duty. While the whole portion is worthy of being discussed here, of particular interest to me is the last verse spoken by Christ.
10. "So you also, when you have done everything that you were told to do, should say, `We are unworthy SERVANTS; we have only done our duty.' "
While the above portion is self-explanatory, the significance of the attitude (towards one's heavenly duties) that ought to be adopted by a True Christian needs to be emphasized. For Christ too came not to be served, but to serve. It goes without saying that it becomes the duty of the sheep to listen to the words of the GOOD SHEPHERD - who was fully conscious of His Duty to go after the Lost Sheep.
The Good Shepherd was also in obedience to the WILL OF HIS FATHER while He chose to give up His Life on the cross for His sheep. The point thus here is – while the Good Shepherd was mindful of His Duties IN THIS WORLD more than His Rights as the Creator of all sheep, how could we the sheep belonging to the fold of the Good Shepherd be more mindful of our rights IN THIS WORLD? For, doesn't this sheep-fold belong to the Kingdom of Heaven and not to this world? This is probably one area where much of the Protestant faithful in many of the advanced countries too differ vis-à-vis the genuine faith of Orthodox Christians....and they call it self-confidence, while Orthodox faithful prefer going about painfully developing 'Christ-confidence'.
Clearly thus, looking at many of the parables of Christ in the light of a `My Rights Attitude' as against a service-oriented `Our Duties Attitude' will make a person more worthy either for THIS WORLD, or for the WORLD BEYOND. The question before each one of us is - which world do we wish to belong to? If it is the WORLD BEYOND, then make no mistake, there will also be A SWORD to contend with in this world. After all, can there be any doubt in our minds that this world is in the grip of Satan and his followers?
Where there is a Christian, there has to be a Cross too!
The Solution to the World's
We may be sure that there are some exceptional young people graduating from there as well as from other academic institutions, but they are not going to fix our world.
Not a Word
He had never been slow of speech when He could bless the sons of men, but He would not say a single word for Himself. "Never man spake like this Man," and never man was silent like Him. Was this singular silence the index of His perfect self-sacrifice?
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