“Get dressed for service and keep your lamps burning; Luke 12: 35
Those were the words the Master spoke when sustaining a deep conversation with the ones who followed Him. We find Jesus having a very intimate, yet profound, conversation with his disciples about not being anxious on those common issues we all face in life.
After assuring the disciples that everything shall be provided for them, as a direct result of pursuing God’s kingdom, He called them little flock (12:32). It is a very interesting term, Jesus used when he was having a deep dialogue with his disciples, it speaks of intimacy. It denotes love and appreciation. Surely, He loved them. Jesus ended his speech about heavenly provision by bringing forward a profound truth, the reality that our interests truly prove where our heart is (12:34). Truth that should help us place everything in the correct perspective.
Jesus’ speech experienced a shift at this point, and it now takes a different direction. It goes from assuring his disciples that divine provision will follow when they invest their lives in serving the Kingdom of God, to exhorting them to always be ready for service. To Jesus it seems that being ready, regardless of the time or the season we might be facing, was that important that He even was intentional on emphasizing it.
I just love the way the author of this particular gospel fashions our Lord’s command. Jesus wasn’t suggesting them into doing something. He was telling them to do two particular things as they were to serve, in a near future, as witness of God’s love for humanity. He told them to get dressed for service. The proper question will be, how does one get dressed for service? Is there any garment we ought to get out there that will enable us for proper service? I don’t think so. I believe that getting dressed for service means having the right attitude, the right heart, and the right purpose when doing ministry. It is out of the heart that either love or hate flows. It is knowing that service is never about us, it is about us functioning as instruments so that people get to experience the true transforming love of God. Getting dressed for service is being aware of the ministry equation in which we are to care for others instead of having others taking care of us. It also means having a humble attitude. A dependable one.
The second command is very interesting. To keep our lights burning is our challenge. At the time our Lord spoke these words, they had no electricity, therefore they used lamps fueled by oil. In order to not be left without light, lamps were to constantly be fueled with oil. That is precisely required of us in ministry. I see that as an allegory for us today as God’s servants. We are to continuously fuel our lives with God’s Word, not because we need to come out with something to teach the people we serve, but because we eagerly want Scripture to transform our lives, simply because we need to listen His voice. It also means, al least to me, to not stop being a light in the middle of a dark and corrupt world. As servants we have a specific call to actually be the light in the midst of our generation and shine God’s justice to our society. I am not sure I’m well dressed now for ministry. I feel like if my dressing code do not corresponds to the required attire. My personal prayer is that the eternal tailor continue to work on my service dress as I depend on the Holy Spirit to keep my lamp burning.