THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2011
THE STRENGTH TO BE LIGHT TO THE NATIONS
February 27, 2011
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
God is about a mighty work in the world today. And we in
CFC-FFL are privileged to be part of His plan. But whatever
we have accomplished for the cause of Christ in these almost
30 years are still “too little,” because God
intends to use us as “a light to the nations, that
(His) salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
do we tap in fully to God’s strength? Especially as
we still are committing some of the infidelities that led
to the crisis in CFC.
do we face the crossroad that is coming up at the end of
our 30th year, and make the right choices? This is especially
critical as we see how we have failed to heed the prophetic
warnings at two previous crossroads--one at the turn of
the millennium, and the other at the end of our 25th year.
The consequences were devastating--from 2001 our evangelization
began to falter and our membership declined year after year,
and in 2007 there was the crisis and split.
have also not been fully learning the lessons of Lamentations,
the lessons of Job, the demands of servant leadership. But
now we are again almost at a crucial crossroad. We are running
out of time. We need to be clear about what God expects
of us, and act accordingly.
readings give us much needed perspective and wisdom.
Servants and stewards
Paul tells us, “Thus should one regard us: as servants
of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Now it is
of course required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.”
(1 Cor 4:1-2).
are God’s servants. That is our call (Is 49:3). As
servants, we are His instruments. God calls us to do what
He would do. We act in lieu of the Master. What God desires
to happen is entrusted to us. Now that is awesome! We are
doing the very work of God! And God is making Himself dependent
the work to His servants makes us also His stewards. And
what are we stewards of? The very mysteries of God! What
are some of these awesome mysteries? One, the divine work
of saving souls is entrusted to us. Two, the all-powerful
God has made Himself dependent upon weak human flesh. Three,
we are given the privilege of carrying and embracing the
very cross of Christ. Four, we are thrust into the center
of the spiritual warfare that is raging in the heavens and
on earth between the angels of Michael and the demons of
Satan. We can only begin to grasp the profound realities
into which we have been placed. But Paul says we have been
made stewards of such mysteries!
such, we need to be trustworthy. God has entrusted us with
these awesome realities, and we need to be worthy of that
trust. Otherwise, the very plan and intent of God, at least
as far as our part is concerned, will not come to pass!
are we to be found trustworthy? We need to be faithful--to
our calling, to our covenant, to the call to servanthood
and discipleship, to the call to holiness.
Not serving two masters
How can we be faithful? We are faithful not only when we
do what we are told to do, but when we truly recognize that
we only have one Master, and he is Jesus.
reality is that we have many aspects of our lives--our family,
our secular job, our social circle of friends, our Christian
community. All these are good, coming from God. But we need
to know that some of these good aspects of our lives might
be the very reasons that could prevent us from being true
servants and stewards. We might refuse community service
or mission because we want to spend more time with our family
or because we are looking to advancement of our career.
Before we know it, the other good aspects of our lives are
already consuming all of our time and energy, leaving nothing
else for the service to God, beyond family.
Jesus himself tells us, “No man can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted
to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
(Mt 6:24). While mammon here refers to wealth or property,
the principle applies to anything or anyone that takes precedence
over God. If our priorities are our own personal home rather
than the kingdom of God, our own family rather than the
other children of God whose souls need saving, our secular
work or career rather than the work of evangelization and
mission, then we are serving another master. We may even
begin despising the demands of God on us, or the demands
of Christian community life, because these are seen as now
interfering with the aspects of life we have decided to
But we do have our family and our secular job to look to.
Shall we neglect these in order to serve God? No, never!
How then do we bring together and balance all these different
aspects of our life?
do so by allowing our lives to revolve around our Christian
community. We do so by living out our covenant in CFC-FFL.
When we do this, everything else will fall into place. We
will never neglect our family, even as we see that giving
them a little less time in order to serve God outside the
family will ultimately redound to the family’s benefit.
We will not neglect our secular work, since this allows
us to provide for the needs of our family, and gives us
a natural environment in the world in which to evangelize.
We will receive teachings, formation, pastoral support,
fraternal correction, counseling; we will have the opportunity
to serve; we will journey with many others and help each
other along on the path to holiness.
we center our lives on Christ within the context of Christian
community, then we will have all the tools and support with
which to respond in faithfulness to God’s call. Then
we will never have to face the prospect of serving two masters.
When we serve God, we put the totality of our lives in order.
Now we know the principle. But the realities are still daunting.
Might we not neglect our family and secular work, as we
seek to focus only on Christ and his call to us? The answer
has already been given, and it is “no.”
knowing our human longings and failings, Jesus himself assures
us. He says do not worry about our life, what we will eat
or drink, what we will wear; he tells us to look at the
birds in the sky, at how God feeds them, and to look at
the wild flowers, how God clothes them in splendor (Mt 6:25-31).
If God does this, how much more will He provide for us!
It boils down to a matter of faith. God already assures
us of His care, but do we believe Him?
we do not, then we are sorely lacking in faith! Then we
are just like the pagans (Mt 6:32a). God knows what we need
and will provide. But we need to trust in Him. We need to
allow Him to provide for us rather than our trusting just
in ourselves for this provision. How do we show this? How
will we experience the fullness of God’s provision?
Jesus says it plainly, “But seek first the kingdom
of God and his righteousness, and all these things will
be given you besides.” (Mt 6:33).
There you have it. First things first, and everything else
falls into place. Serve God alone, the only Master.
affirms this. “My soul rests in God alone” (Ps
62:2a). Why? Because one’s salvation comes from God
alone (Ps 62:2b). Salvation is the fullness of God’s
work in us. This is how we experience restoration to the
Father and our being children of God, and how we will make
it to our eternal home in heaven. We look to Jesus as our
Savior and Lord, and in him we have everything that we need.
“God alone is my rock and salvation, my secure height;
I shall never fall.” (Ps 62:3).
of this reality that from God comes our salvation and thus
our soul rests in God alone, we also see the essence of
our call to serve. We do the work of evangelization and
mission in order that many more souls will experience salvation
and rest in God alone.
God, being our Savior, is our hope (Ps 62:6). In God is
our safety and glory (Ps 62:8a). We are safe and protected
because God conceals us in the shadow of His arm and hides
us in His quiver (Is 49:2). In God is our glory because
we are His servants through whom He shows His glory (Is
49:3). Further, in God is our strength, for He is our “strong
rock” (Ps 62:8b).
what does all this say to us? “Trust God at all times,
my people!” (Ps 62:9a). God will provide and we are
to have faith and not be like the pagans. In the call to
be stewards, we must be trustworthy. To be trustworthy we
need to be faithful. To be faithful we need to recognize
only one Master. To center our lives on our only Master
Jesus we need to live out our covenant fully in the Christian
community to which we have been called. To do all these,
we trust in God at all times.
How do we manifest such trust? We are to fully invest our
lives in God’s call. We are to hold nothing back.
We are to be true servants and stewards.
makes His final assurance. “Can a mother forget her
infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget, I will never forget you.”
(Is 49:15). Wow! We know that mothers (the normal ones)
are the most loving and nurturing of their children, from
the womb and beyond. We know that mothers will sacrifice
anything and everything for the sake of their children.
Now God says this is how He is. And that even if such mothers
fail in doing so, He never will.
have a Father in heaven who loves us and promises to care
for us. We have a God who manifests such love and care as
a mother would. We must be totally secure in this God who
calls us to serve Him.
A normal mother will not forget her infant. But in today’s
world we see many would-be mothers who do forget, who abort
the child in their wombs. This is the way it is in a world
that is dominated by Satan and darkness and evil. Everything
is turned topsy-turvy. This world is always beckoning to
us, and if we respond, this world, and thus Satan, could
very easily become our master.
do we resist this? How do we protect ourselves from this?
We do so by clinging to Jesus our Savior, looking to God
alone, and involving ourselves deeply in the body of Christ
on earth. We become servants of Christ in the Church (and
within parts of the Church such as our community of CFC-FFL).
do all these, and we can rightly look to what God intends
to do to and through us. Just as David proclaimed his glory
to be with God his strong rock (Ps 62:8), we too can rightly
exclaim: “And I am made glorious in the sight of the
Lord, and my God is now my strength!” (Is 49:5c).