Staff Corner – Greg Spires
An employee at a large corporation tells the story about the efforts of his boss to sabotage him. The boss set a policy for the employee that all emails to VP’s in the company had to go through the boss first. This policy was a significant change in how things had been done in the past. The employee thought it strange but complied with the new communications policy.
Soon, the employee started receiving harsh feedback from the company VP’s over his performance. Cost overruns, project changes, plan revisions, and more where brought up at meetings. Over and over again, the employee would explain what was going on had been communicated to his boss, but he had been told not to communicate with those above his boss.
Finally, after an internal investigation, it was determined the boss disliked the employee greatly. As a result, the boss would either fail to pass along information from the employee to those who needed it; or, the boss would pass along false information.
Why did the boss do this? First, the boss disliked the employee personally. Second, the employee was experiencing success in his role, and the boss was worried his employee would pass him up in the company. So, the boss decided to try and sabotage his employee.
In the end, the boss was fired, and the employee was assigned to a new supervisor. The boss could have enjoyed the benefits of having a successful and effective leader in his department. But instead, the boss lost his job because of intentional sabotage.
In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, we read about a man who assigned money to the care of three servants while he was gone for a long journey. Two of the servants invested the money to generate a return. However, one of the servants buried the money and returned it upon the master’s return.
Why did the servant do what he did? Because he didn’t like his master. Matthew 25:14-15 records what the servant told his master, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.”
We know from the parable the servant would have personally benefited by putting the money to work in order to make it grow. However, the servant was more interested in sabotaging the master. His actions revealed how much he disliked the master. The servant was willing to suffer a personal loss if it meant hurting his master.
The actions of the servant reveal a simple principle: we cannot serve God if we don’t like Him. One of the tactics of our enemy is to convince us that God isn’t likable. If our hearts are filled with anger and resentment toward God, it can build to dislike or worse. So how do we keep our hearts filled with love for God so we can continue to serve God with our lives?
The answer is simply the Gospel. When we remember how much God was willing to pay to redeem us through the suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, it should fill us with love because of His kindness.
Because the Gospel is what builds our love for God, one of the significant obstacles to loving God is self-righteousness. If we don’t think our sin is that bad, then the Gospel isn’t that good. Like Jesus says in Luke 7:47, “But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Jesus isn’t saying some have only a little sin (because the Scriptures make it clear there is none righteous). Instead, what Jesus is saying is that some people, in their self-righteousness, think their sin isn’t that bad. Or, at least their sin isn’t as bad as others.
When we minimize our sin, we minimize the good news of the Gospel. If the Gospel isn’t really that great, then God isn’t very likable. And it is impossible to worship God if we don’t like Him.
It may seem counterintuitive. But one of the best ways to love God more is, to be honest about how bad our sin is. No matter how bad our sin is, His grace is bigger. When we experience the daily pouring out of God’s grace on our hearts and new mercies every morning, our hearts will burst out in love for God who saves.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Matthew 25:14-30.
See you Sunday,