MARCH 3
   
Today's Bible Readings
     Exodus  14
     Job 32
     Luke  17
     II Corinthians 2
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, we are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do." (Luke 17:10)
 
A  BOND SLAVE
            I found myself in a class on preaching with an assignment to bring a seven-minute sermon to the class.  The sermon was to receive the critique of the class and the evaluation by the professor. I chose for my text Luke 17:7-10. Then I presented what Jesus Christ expected from His bondservant. The class was very positive but the professor commented, ''those kind of demands will not be accepted by the Christians of today, and your preaching will be unpopular if you expect your people to meet these standards." Sadly he was right, and these expectations remain difficult for modem believers.
            The Greek word here for servant is ''doulos.'' The word does not describe the kind of paid worker that is a part of our culture, but a bond slave, which was very much a part of the culture in the days of Jesus Christ. His listeners knew exactly the standards expected when Jesus used the word doulos. Consider the characteristics of the bond slave:
            He had no rights of his own. Only the Master was important, and the Master's comfort and convenience came before anything else. This bond slave was unlike the people in the days of the judges when everyone was ''doing what was right in his own eyes." The bond slave was different from the Laodicean church age, which demands ''the rights of the people." As he came in from the field, he sought to make his Master comfortable rather than himself.
            He expected and received no thanks. The servant was not looking for the gratitude of his Master. He was concerned only with being obedient and meeting the Master's needs. While the modem Christian seeks the applause of the crowds and the approval of his peers, the doulos expected and received not a single word of gratitude. He was committed to doing those things he was commanded to do. The key word to describe the doulos was commitment. His obsession was to please his Master whatever the cost was to himself.
            He confessed to be an unprofitable servant, doing only his duty. This doulos abandoned all rights to his own desire for prominence, prestige and prosperity.  His attitude was one of total humility.  His joy was to carry out the duty owed to his Master. No doubt this was a challenging lifestyle for the apostles of Jesus day and for anyone who seeks to follow Him in this manner today. His standards never change
            Are you willing to live your life today as a bond slave to your Master? Either He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
            The country of Ukraine in Eastern Europe is a nation that is enjoying newfound freedom, finally out from under the bondage of Communism behind the Iron Curtain. There is a rich Christian heritage in Ukraine, and there has been an emergence of many dynamic and visionary Ukrainian mission agencies who minister both at home and all over the former Soviet Union.
             Now Russia has come against the Ukraine with great military force in an effort to take it over again as the first step  in restoring the former Soviet Union. This has especially been a blow for the evangelical church. It is important now for us to pray for these courageous people in the Ukrainian church.
            The strongest challenge to the spread of evangelical Christianity in the Ukraine is, of course, the Orthodox Church. They represent Sixty-five percent of the ''Christian'' population. Pray that God will give believers in the Ukraine such fervor that they will boldly witness for Christ regardless of the opposition they receive from the Orthodox group.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''No man is ever fully accepted until he has, first of all, been utterly rejected."
Author unknown