Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all? And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.Luke 12:41-48
Several years ago I was blessed to compile the Primitive Baptist Hymnal with several others. One of the things we wanted to do with that hymnal was to have categories of types of hymns. Using the content of the most popular hymnals, this was very easy for sections such as baptism, church fellowship, prayer, etc. But what shocked me was the section on the return of Jesus Christ was quite small. There were some very good songs but there were not very many.
The history of English language hymns is not very long compared to music history as a whole. It spans just a few hundred years. So, I decided to reach back as far as I could (pre-Internet) and see if there were some other hymns about the return of Christ we could use. What I discovered shocked me.
There was a definite shift in the hymnal content in the 19th century. There were more and more hymns about dying and going to heaven and far fewer hymns about the return of the Savior. Times were hard in America during these years. Mortality rates were very poor. So, it makes sense that more songs about dying were being composed and sung. But why did the hymns about the return of Christ fall away?
Then it dawned on me. Or rather hit me in the gut like a sucker punch.
After the division of the Baptists in the early 19th century, more and more divisions developed and further splintered the churches. Now, I do not disagree that something needed to be done because false doctrine and practice had come into many churches. However, after those divisions were taken care of, it seemed people were still looking for a fight. Churches began dividing over the smallest things and the spirit of debate took over many places where the spirit of love was needed.
Here is my point.
Jesus says that the harm of our fellow servants is a symptom of our attitude about the Lord’s return.
The more we neglect to look for and anticipate the glorious return of our Savior, the more apt we are to become disgruntled with our fellow children of God.
Let us not allow the Pharisaical spirit of superiority drive our efforts in church purity of doctrine and practice. Let us work together to practice and preach what the Lord taught us as we look together for the day we sit in perfect peace and rest with Jesus!
I think if we realize our Master is returning, we will stop seeking to be the master of one another and learn how to point ourselves back to the true King!