Reluctant or Willing?
“But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.”
The subjects presented in these verses had no desire for Him to be their king. And yet, they still had a responsibility to him. They could either do their job with a joyful heart or a reluctant spirit … but they still had to do it!
Ah, the lordship of Christ–why is it that we so often resist it? Considering all He offers in leading and guiding us with His loving eye constantly upon us; considering the multitude of faithful promises in His Word; considering the powerful Holy Spirit encouraging, equipping, teaching, and comforting–again, the question comes to my mind–why is it that we so often resist Him? Perhaps we believe that we know better than God what is best for us. Perhaps, like the subjects in our verse for today, we do not want Him as our King.
This passage reminds me of a young mother’s response to her two year old pitching a fit. The child could not have what she wanted, and the mother said: “It doesn’t really matter what you want!” If you think about it, if our desires are contrary to or apart from or less than God’s will for us, it doesn’t really matter what we want–no matter how big a fit we pitch or how hard we stomp our feet! Some things are set in stone and there is no changing them. God is God and He is in control!
Our reassurance of the King’s goodness comes in knowing that God, who makes known the end from the beginning, does not see partially or in tunnel vision. He sees the whole picture of our lives in their entirety and lovingly leads us through paths that will conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. This will bring peace to each one of us and glory and honor to Him. It is the good way. Jeremiah tells us:
This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)
“We judge things by their present appearance; but the Lord sees them in their consequences. If we could do the same we would be perfectly of His mind; but since we can’t, it is an unspeakable mercy that He will manage for us, whether we are pleased with His management or not; and it is regarded as one of His heaviest judgments when He gives any person up to the way of their own hearts, and to walk according to their own wisdom.” John Newton
There is no doubt about it–rest, peace, joy, and satisfaction belong to those who submit to the Lordship of Christ. When we follow Him, we have a responsibility to do His work.
Scripture contains many precious promises for those whom the Lord leads:
Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders. (Deuteronomy 33:12)
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. (Psalm 23:1)
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:2, 5)
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)
How are we using what God has blessed us with? Are we serving Him and the interest of His kingdom? Expectant and ready for service is how Jesus desires to find believers upon His return. We must be not only working servants but also waiting servants. His charge is for us to be ready and eager for His return.
Take It to Heart
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:8)
“Do you seek any further reward beyond that of having pleased God? In truth, you know not how great a good it is to please Him.” (John Chrysostom)
“Every Christian life ought to be a force among men, a witness for Jesus and an influence for blessing and good. I know that there are few people like Billy Graham, whom God calls to do great things for Him. For men like me, and perhaps you, the best thing that we can do in the small time allotted to us in this world is to live out a genuine, simple, beautiful, strong Christian life. In our little measure we can repeat the life of the Lord Himself, doing in our imperfect way a few of the wonderful things He would do if He were Himself in our place.” (Wales Goebel)