The Lord is willing….Are You?
An examination of what it means to be the Bride of Christ in light of Genesis 24
In Genesis 24, Abraham sent his servant to find a bride for his son. The servant prayed for guidance and success and then he looked for a woman who had a willing heart. He found Rebekah. She demonstrated the willing attitude that he was looking for.
I believe this morning that in this story, there is a message for our church. God desires us to have a “Rebekah” spirit, heart, attitude today. Do you?
God is not looking for outward, physical beauty. Not for fame, fortune, success, strength, skills, talents. He is searching for those who are willing to serve.
So, let me explain exactly how I see this story from ancient times as being a wonderful, challenging allegory for modern Christians.
First, when you read Genesis 24:18-25, you will see that Rebekah was willing to serve others first. She put her own needs aside for the present moment and set about meeting the needs of Abraham’s servant. She gave him water, she watered his camels, and she made sure that the man and his animals would have lodging and food for the night. God is looking for the same kind of selfless service from Christians today. Jesus said that his followers should seek God’s interests first (Matthew 6:33). Paul encouraged us to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) and told us to consider other people before ourselves (Philippians 2:3). We have become a “me first” society. We want to make sure we protect our rights, our privileges, our needs, and our wants. One thing that I have been very alarmed about during the Coronavirus pandemic is the frequency at which I have seen and heard Christians arguing about how their rights and their freedoms were being trampled on, infringed, or somehow taken away by social-distancing and other preventative measures that state and local civic leaders were imposing on the populace. Very infrequent (in my own limited experience) did I hear anyone in church circles say, “I will wear a mask, I will lay aside my rights, my freedom, in deference to someone else’s needs.” What I heard instead were needless and endless arguments about whether or not masks are effective at preventing the spread of a virus. And also WAY too much complaining about personal “rights” and “freedoms” within the church community. In God’s Kingdom, the last are first and the first are last. In simpler terms, the greatest person in God’s opinion is the one who serves other people the most. To be great, serve the Lord in great ways. How? James said that the type of religion God sees as pure and undefiled is such that ministers to the needs of those in society who are the neediest (James 1:27). Remember, Jesus set the bar for us in this. He served the sick, the needy, the societal outcasts. He washed the feet of his students, even of the one who would sell him out to the authorities that wanted him dead. He prayed for his disciples on the night he would be arrested, even when his own burden was heavy and they were sleeping instead of helping him pray. He prayed for his persecutors even while dying on the cross. Jesus showed love to John even though John had abandoned him and fled when Jesus was arrested. That is our example. Not the President of the United States. Not an actor. Not a professional athlete. Jesus, friend of sinners, the suffering servant of God. So, how are you doing in comparison? As for me, I have a lot of work to do!
This is a great place to stop for today. I have given you some things to contemplate. A lot, actually. It is tough, I know. It is tough for me, too. But we have God’s help in all these things! Search the Scriptures, pray, and let the Spirit of God lead you. Ask God for help and for strength to put God first and to be mindful of His agenda.