We Serve the God We See

By Joe Caruso Stories

How would you describe the God you serve? Is he a good God, who wants what’s best for you? Or is he a judgemental God, watching and waiting for you to make a mistake? Maybe you see God as a distant God, who is uninvolved in your daily affairs.

However you see God, one thing is certain, the God you see will be the God you serve. How we interact with God is directly related to our perception of him.

There’s a parable found in Matthew 25:14-30 that helps reveal this important truth. It’s commonly known as The Parable of the Talents. It’s one of a few parables Jesus told to describe what his kingdom would be like.

The parable begins with a man entrusting his wealth to some servants while he goes on a journey. To one servant he gave five talents, to another he gave two and to a third, he gave one talent. The amount he entrusted was according to each servant’s ability.

While the man was away, the servant with the five talents immediately began putting the talents entrusted to him to work and was able to double his money to ten talents. The second servant did the same, doubling his money to four talents.

The third servant had a different approach. Instead of putting his talent to work, he decided to dig a hole and bury the money entrusted to him in the ground where it would be safe.

When the master returned, he called the servants to settle his accounts. Hearing that the first two servants doubled their talents, the master was pleased and praised their efforts. They were promoted and put in charge of many of his affairs.

When the man who buried his talent approached his master, he began to justify his actions by rationalizing why he buried his talent. The reason he gave is revealing.

The master condemned the third servant harshly, for not putting the talent to better use, calling him wicked and lazy. He then took the talent and gave it to the servant with the ten talents, and ordered the worthless servant thrown outside into the darkness.

In this parable, Jesus is showing us how our perception of God can cloud our judgement of his character and affect how we serve him. Because the third servant saw his master as a hard man, he hid his talent, fearing that his master would be harsh with him if he failed in his assignment. Instead of enthusiasm, he served in fear, causing him to hold back and play it safe. He was serving his master as he saw him.

Our perception will always affect our judgment. The lens we see the world through will always define our reality, whether our perception is accurate or not.

Think of a friend or a family member. It’s our perception of them that dictates the relationship. If we see them in a good, loving and trustworthy way, we’ll tend to interact with them in a positive manner. If we believe a trust has been broken or their actions are hurtful, then we’ll often pull back from the relationship. Our interaction with them will be as we see them.

The point is, that how we see others will affect our relationship with them, for better or worse. This reality is no different with God. How we see God affects our relationship with him as well.

We serve a good God who loves us. He loves us so much that he sent his son Jesus to die for us. But, for a variety of reasons, our view of God can become distorted, often without even realizing it. It’s important to spend time with God regularly and to read his word to remind ourselves what his true character is like.

The Bible gives many wonderful names to both God and Jesus to help us gain insight into their identity and character. Here are just a few:

Insights into God’s Character:

  1. Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide) Genesis 22:14
  2. Jehovah Rapha (The Lord Who Heals) Exodus 15:26
  3. Jehovah Raah (The Lord is My Shepherd) Psalm 23:1

Insights into Jesus’ Character:

  1. Lamb of God (The Ultimate Sacrifice) John 1:29
  2. Good Shepherd (Our Caring and Guiding Leader) John 10:11
  3. Light of the World (The Source of Truth and Guidance) John 8:12
  4. Bread of Life (Our Spiritual Nourishment) John 6:35
  5. Saviour (The One Who Saves) Luke 2:11

When we see God for who he is we can serve him freely, knowing he loves us. Like the first two servants, we don’t have to hold back. We can serve God joyfully and confidently with all we have. We can look forward to the day when he tells us, well done, and promotes us into his kingdom.

I think back to when my son was a young boy. He was always eager to please me by showing me something he learned or what he could do. “Look at me Daddy, look at me!” He would often shout, as he dove into the water or hit a baseball. He saw me as a good dad and wanted to make me happy, by showing me the great things he could do. He looked forward to hearing my praise when I shouted back, “Great job, son!”

Our heavenly father is no different. He is waiting with anticipation, to watch us put to use the talents he has given us. And he will cheer us on as we serve him with all we have. When we see God as a good father, we will begin to serve him as a good father. Become like the first two servants and use your talents to the best of your ability. Serve God with everything you have, because he truly is a good father.

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