A Duty to Honor My Father

“Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? “But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? “He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.” (Luke 17:7-10)

In 1934 the fable “The Grasshopper and The Ants” came upon the scene. It was a good story and my grandmother read it to me many times. The short take is the grasshopper was living for the day and worried not nor prepared for the future. On the other hand the ants saved all summer long for the cold winter days when food was scarce. The winter came and in desperation the grasshopper went to the ants and in kindness they fed him through the winter months. Whereas the grasshopper during the summer months sang that unforgettable song, “The World Owes Me a Living,” when winter came he learned a hard lesson. Today there are many who sing the grasshopper’s song and they have lost their sense of duty to the God who created the heavens and the earth. The God who sacrificed His Son upon the cross that we might have life abundant. Jesus, the Son of God the Father, teaches us not to forsake our duty to honor the Father.

I ask you, as Jesus asked His disciples, does the master say to his servants come I have prepared a meal for you? No, the servant prepares the meal for his master. Even after a hard day’s work in his masters fields the servant is not finished until the master has been served.

The first thought is that this is not fair. Have I not toiled enough that I should be fed and allowed to rest for tomorrow I must meet the demands of my labors. But, fair or not, that is not the reality. We have responsibilities to our families, to our employers, and we have a responsibility to our God. Each will demand more of us at times than we feel is right and fair for us to give; but we must as this is our duty. As a follower of Christ we are not working for others as much as we are working for the Lord. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (Colossians 3:23) If we are His children we have been bought for at a price, we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are not our own, we are His bond-servants.

As bond servant of Christ we cannot expect payment for the service that we render unto Him. God created the heavens and the earth and gave it to us to have dominion over. This is a huge responsibility but look at what we have been given. He sacrificed His Son on the cross to pay a debt that we could never pay. He watches over causing all things to work for our good. What could we the bond-servants of Christ expect for payment that we have not already received? We do what we must in the service of our Lord as fulfilling our duty to Him.

This is, of course, in opposition to the way the world thinks. But we could never expect that God would ever be in debt to us. As God is our provider we are eternally in debt to Him.

In our text the word “thank you” is the Greek word “charis.” It means to have gratitude or to be grateful. It is in the context of having a debt of gratitude. It is not proper in my mind to think that God is in a debt of gratitude to me for anything, as all I have comes from Him. As all that we have comes from Him. God is not in debt to man, man is eternally in debt to God.

Jesus said if you love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15) It is our reasonable service to worship God. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1) We have a duty to worship God, to give Him praise and honor, to love Him because He first loved us. It is what we would expect from our dependents and it is what we are commanded to return to God.

In verses 9 & 10 we see the word commanded. This word means that we are being given instruction as to what must be done as a Captain gives an order to his charges. It is not something that we can or should do but something that we must. Given that we serve a God of Love then the commandments are rendered unto us in the context of that love. Meaning that God has our personal welfare in mind and the outcome of our trust and obedience to His Word is life. As the Apostle Peter realized. “Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

These are not very popular words in our vocabulary today, commandments, order, and duty. These attitudes have become foolishness in the eyes of the worldly. “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25) I find it hard to believe that a home, business, or military organization could operate without commandments, order or a sense of duty. We have become a culture thinking that we have rights without responsibilities. Then we set on our porches talking with our neighbors wondering why has our society has fallen so far. It is because we have not a sense of duty. We have lost our sense of duty as a result of our abandonment of the truths of God’s Word. Too many are attracted to candy Christianity. Too many prayers are give me this or that. We have to get back on our knees with a humble spirit and pray Lord what would you have me do this day. We have to realize that the Christian life is not a pass. The road to the Kingdom is paved in personal sacrifice. Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)

By doing that which we know that we ought, we need not think that we are earning special merits from God. We must not think that by our reasonable service to our Master that we deserve a special entitlement. We have our reward coming at the judgment. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3-4)

It is our duty to Honor God our Heavenly Father for the blessing that we receive through His grace. It is not that God owes us anything. What He has given He has given to all. God blesses us freely. It is we who owe Him everything. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 21, 2015

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