The Natural Flow

Luke 17: 7-10

This is the story of the servant.

I was not too familiar with it and when I encountered it in Dr. Willard’s book [he used it as a reference] I began to wonder what it meant.

Let me paraphrase.

Jesus says “suppose one of you had a servant” and they were doing their servant duties such as plowing or looking after sheep. What would you say to that servant when they came in from doing their work? Would you say come in and sit down with me and eat? No, you would say prepare my supper; wait on me and take care of my food needs. Would you thank the servant because the servant has done what the servant is supposed to do? No. Likewise if we have done everything we are supposed to do, what have we done?

We have only done our duty.

Don’t get me wrong, doing what you are supposed to do is a good thing. I have referenced this before but my Sunday School class did a 10 week study on each of the commandments and before it was all over, we were sorely convicted. We came to the conclusion that just “doing your duty” is hard to do.

But what you see is that the “duty” is the minimum.

It is what is expected.

It is the basics.

It does not necessitate special recognition.

It is doing your duty.

What does Jesus mean in his parable of the servant? Why does Dr. Willard reference this parable?

The “beyond your duty” things that we can do in life are where we need to be open and listening to God.

I don’t presume to tell you that I have some special connection beyond what any Christian can have but there are certain places in my life where I feel His presence more than other.

First of all, I ask that you please not laugh.

As I live my life at home and work through my day, sometimes I feel like I get a little direction as I make decisions about what I do.

Some of you may say “Yeah, you are just telling me that Susan has a ‘honey-do’ list and you feel close to God as you work through things on that list.” No that is not it.

I am blessed in many ways and one way I am is I never lack for anything to do. Susan does not make ‘honey-do’ lists for me. She is so easy to live with in that regard because she rarely asks me to do any special work around the house.

I just feel when the work needs to be done.

The place where I feel the strongest connection to God is in my yard and in the landscape ideas that I have. I have a love for growing things and sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. The failure is good. It teaches me what works and what I need to do better next time. The success is good because I learn new things that I did not know.

I wonder how much of this connection flows from the model of my earthly father. I never really wanted to farm but I think back on Dad’s life and remember him acting and responding to seasons, temperatures, rainfall etc. He never talked about it. He just did it. He had a natural instinct to grow things. He was good at it.

Maybe he had the natural flow.

If you would ask Dad about his life, he would reply that he was doing his duty. If you followed him around all day, I don’t know.

I would say he had one of those special connections.

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