Hard things we don’t like to hear

“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.’”

Luke 17:7-10

This is the section of scripture that my pastor preached on Sunday.  He admitted it was a hard passage to preach on because he doesn’t like to hear its message.  He said we modern Americans don’t like to hear it.  We don’t align well with the idea of being “servants” or “slaves” to anyone.  We don’t like being bound by duty to a master.  When we work we do it because we want to and we want to be appreciated. 

But he explained that the passage is directly connected to the previous parts of that chapter.  The passages we know about forgiveness and faith the size of a mustard seed. 

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

Luke 17:3-6

This is all one section that can’t be taken separately in pieces.  The Lord is giving us a very clear message about His calling for us as His followers.  This message is specifically for Christians, for those who have taken up the mantle of the great commission.  Jesus is telling us that he will give us tremendous power, the power to do great things in His name. But that power must be wielded with the heart of a servant. 

This is sometimes a problem for me, just as it is for many of us. 

I like to be right.

I like to be the star of my own show.

I like to be the center of my own universe.

I like to idolize myself.  

But that is not what God’s calling is.  He is the master.  We are the servants.  Our job is to do what God needs. 

I met with a beautiful friend named Cathy Krafve last week for lunch.  She and I became acquainted when her husband’s business took an office a few doors down from me.  I learned over time that she was working on writing a book about marriage and marriage conversations.  She also has a fantastic podcast called “Fireside Talk Radio.”  Since those early days when we first met, she’s published several books and is working on another. Through her testimony and example, she’s been a tremendous blessing to me. 

On this lunch date, I was particularly interested to sit down with her because I respect her opinion profoundly and wanted to discuss the decisions I was working through in changing my author brand.  In that conversation, I also mentioned that I’d discovered her videotaped testimony in connection with a local charity called CARES (Christian-Centered Abortion Recovery and Education.)  You see as a young woman Cathy had an abortion.  That decision was something she had to spend a great deal of time healing and recovering from.  Her video is truly worth seeing as she gives such a profound witness about guilt, forgiveness, Christ’s grace, and service.

In a sense, I realized this was all the things those chapters of Luke talked about.    

Since I heard the news of the Supreme Court ruling regarding abortion I’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotion.  At first, I was jubilant.  I believe life is precious and should be protected at all stages.  I also am a strong supporter of the bill of rights and especially the tenth amendment, so to me, this was an important win for my belief in state’s rights.  So yeah, I was exceptionally pleased with the ruling and I felt the need to immediately post about it on my social media.  I made posts supporting life, posts sharing biblical verses about life, and posts giving legal discussion about what the ruling meant…

…and then I got worried.  I know some of my closest friends and other associates not only didn’t agree with the ruling, but they were also vehemently upset about it.  The vitriol was spewing and I wanted to spew it right back.  I was biting my tongue every time I entered social media… 

… and then I felt ashamed.  Because while I believe life is precious, I was doing nothing, absolutely nothing to help.  All I was doing was announcing with pride my pro-life stance. 

But friends, having a stance means nothing without action. 

As a friend of mine said some time ago:  The abortion issue—no matter what side you stand on the issue—should never be a banner carried with glee.  It is a serious, heartbreaking decision, and a life, many lives are in the balance. 

As I’ve chewed on and swallowed the Dobbs ruling regarding Roe v. Wade I’ve had to confront my failure to be His servant.  The servant He calls me to be in Luke 17:3-10.  In a recent article written even before the ruling, Mississippi “sidewalk counselor” Matt Friedman had this to say: 

“It is easy enough to be a pro-lifer from afar, voting for pro-life candidates but otherwise staying away from activism.” Friedman’s work helping talk to women considering abortion is something I admire.  He tells in his article in The Stand of several miracles he witnessed in that ministry.

Still, the discussions I’ve had on social media these last weeks have reminded me that there are also many ways that we who are pro-life need to get involved. 

The Dobbs ruling should not have been a time for rejoicing, for shouting self-righteous platitudes at all of our pro-choice friends.  The ruling is a clarion call to pro-life America.  It is time for us to put boots on the ground and get to work.  This issue isn’t going away and I would dare say will only continue to heat up as those on both sides of the political and legal argument stoke the fires.  And meanwhile, babies, women, and men all need help. 

I reached out to a writer friend of mine about this and we’ve decided to start with bringing together our writing talents for a charity anthology to benefit a life pregnancy organization.  And we’ve gotten such great responses from other writers that we’re even tentatively planning a second project for next year.  I have a dream, tied together with biblical hope, that this is the start of a process by which we’ll be able to raise money for many different organizations that help people. 

My pastor said Sunday that on average it takes about fifteen years of personal growth to move from “working for Christ” to a place where “Christ is working through you.”  I’m not sure where I am on that journey of growth.  My friend Cathy Krafve told me last week that I can do good things because I’m “so full of compassion.”  If she sees that, I’m humbled because I know my heart is so many times sorely lacking in the compassion field. 

But I am working on it…

and I am practicing forgiveness, even forgiveness of self…

and I am watering that mustard seed of faith…

and I am looking up to my Master as His servant to do His will.

I don’t have all of the answers on this issue. I don’t like the conflict and tension surrounding it. But I keep thinking on a phrase my pastor used just a few weeks ago. “Be tough with truth, but tender with people.” That’s what I’m seeking to do in this moment. That’s what I hope I can do with every moment in service to my Master.

Dear Master, you are such a good and gracious Lord.  Thank you so much for your constant and patient instruction to us, your servants.  We thank you for our lives and for all of your faithful who work tirelessly for life, both unborn and born.  Guide us as we seek to work for you to heal your broken flock and bring them back to You.  Mold us so that You can work through us.  In Your name, we pray, Amen

Please check out my friend Cathy’s recent post about the Abortion issue HERE.

If you want to find out more about the CARE ministry, look HERE.

By oliviahardinwriter

When Olivia Hardin started having movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long, the writing bug had bitten her, and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, she was temporarily “cured” of the urge to write. That is, until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again. Olivia has attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term “road scholar,”' and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she “studies” anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She's also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she’s sometimes accused of being artistic. A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny, their corgi Bonnie Sue, and their new rescue Heidi Ho.

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