Giving Thanks to the Master – Greg Albrecht

…real thanksgiving is not determined by food or specific traditions or by travel…the absolute necessary ingredient is the Master—Jesus Christ—the One toward whom our thanksgiving is directed.

Some people think they can’t experience a time of Thanksgiving without turkey, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. Some think that they can’t experience a time of Thanksgiving (in Canada the second Monday in October and in the United States the last Thursday of November) unless they travel to a specific place and visit with specific people. Some summarize a perfect time of Thanksgiving as including the four F’s—food, family, friends and football!

But of course real thanksgiving is not determined by food or specific traditions or by travel—the one necessary ingredient to any time of thanksgiving, whether it is a national day celebrated in October or November, or whether it is any day of the year—the absolute necessary ingredient is the Master — Jesus Christ—the One toward whom our thanksgiving is directed.

Luke 17:7-10:

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”

The only sermons or exhortations I have heard based on this passage all had to do with a corrective message, telling me and others listening that we were unprofitable servants, and in order to become profitable servants we needed to do more, give more and work harder.

I assure you that no such meaning or interpretation was intended by the Master who gave us this parable.

Jesus presents two main characters in this parable—the master and the master’s slave. As we begin to study this parable we must discuss slavery. For us, in this 21st century, slavery is such a moral evil that we can’t imagine Jesus using slavery as an example. But the parables of Jesus are filled with references to servants and stewards—and in many cases those individuals were what we could call slaves today.

Since slavery is evil, why then is Jesus talking about it? Jesus, as he often does in his parables, is using a physical illustration from the culture of his day to draw and impart a spiritual lesson.

Jesus did not then condone slavery nor does he now. He talked about slaves and servants as examples, because they represented a large segment of that society. The people to whom Jesus ministered were living in an occupied country — in that sense they were slaves themselves. The Jews in Palestine at that time were occupied by a military power, they were heavily taxed and they were oppressed.

…the parable means that we are unable, given the relationship God gives to us, to deserve his love on the basis of our accomplishments.

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