Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ.
How do you see other people? How do you see the person on Zoom you are meeting with, the clerk waiting on you at the post office, or your neighbor across the street? Are you becoming more and more able to see them with Jesus added on?
In today’s scripture the apostle Paul writes about seeing others with Jesus added on. Paul talks about this way of seeing others as the supernatural outgrowth from putting off the old and putting on the new (3:5-17). This new and divine quality of living shows itself in the family and in the way each is treated: husbands, wives, parents, and children (3:18-21). This new and divine quality of living even shows itself in the way slaves relate to their masters (3:22-25). Paul directs slaves to eagerly throw themselves into their service because, in reality, by serving their masters they “serve the Lord Christ.”
Paul writes similarly to Christians in Ephesus asking slaves to “Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not to men and women” (Ephesians 6:7). That phrase, “as to the Lord”, is at the heart of Christian ethics. Here is God’s radical new way of going about life. We can depend on Jesus always making Himself present in the other person. Jesus always adds Himself to each relationship, transfiguring it into a relationship with Him.
Jesus teaches His revolutionary new way of seeing others in His parable of “The Sheep and the Goats.” Jesus reveals through the parable that the service given to the hungry, thirsty, sick, naked, and imprisoned is actually service given to Him (Matthew 25:31-46). Jesus explains: “inasmuch as you did it to the least of these you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).
Did Jesus ever say anything more astonishing than this: “inasmuch as you did it to the least of these you did it to me”! This is not some pious Sunday bromide, or sweet greeting card sentiment, but God’s truth! Jesus truly makes Himself to be present in every person we encounter in the workplace, market, or street.
Edwin Markham in his poem, “How the Great Guest Came”, incarnates the way Jesus encounters you and me in other people. Markham tells in the poem about Conrad, a kindly German cobbler, to who the Lord Jesus appears in a dream with the promise: “I’m coming your guest to be.”
Excitedly, Conrad sprang from his bed in the morning, preparing for the coming of the Great Guest. He mopped the floor and shined it, cleaned the shelf, and spread his table. He busied himself throughout the day but always with an eye on the door for the Great Guest.
Yet, as Conrad went about his day he was not so busy that he did not serve three strangers who entered his door: a cold beggar, a hungry woman, and a homeless child. Then sadly, as the day came to an end, the Great Guest had not come. Confused and disappointed, Conrad knelt to pray:
“What is it Lord, that your feet delay?
Did you forget that this was the day?
Then in the silence of his heart Conrad heard the Great Guest speak:
“Three times I came to your friendly door;
Three times my shadow was on your floor.
I was the beggar with bruised feet;
I was the woman you gave to eat;
I was the child on the homeless street!”
I pray for grace and for new eyes to truly see others with Jesus added on. For, as we serve them we serve the Lord.
A Fellow Traveler,