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For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.  Matthew 8:9. 

1. Masters Under Authority

These are the words of the Roman centurion who went to Jesus, seeking spiritual intervention in the crucial issue of his servant’s sickness.

Firstly, he acknowledged that he not only exercised authority over others, but was himself also a man under authority.

Unlike him, however, there are many who seek to exercise authority over others whereas they themselves wish to be under authority to nobody.

It never works that way. The one who demands “Yes sir” from others, but cannot say, or has none to whom he himself says “Yes sir,” will prove to be a tyrant. Even Jesus, while He was on earth, acknowledged His subordination to God the Father. 

2. Masters that Care and Serve

Secondly, it is amazing that a boss of the centurion’s eminent stature should be so concerned about the condition of his servant, an “ordinary servant,” as some would say. Why? The reason comes out in the centurion’s statement. “I say to… my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.” 

3. Good Servants

When a servant is so obedient and does things as he is told to, which master, no matter how high, would not condescend to care about the cares of that servant who has always cared about the cares of his master? That for the servant. 

4. Conclusion

Thank God also for good masters (like this centurion) who do not insist only and always on receiving service, but give service themselves. They are unlike other masters who, from morning till night, order their servants about, “Do this!” “Go there!” “Come here!” but never care whether or not those servants are sick to the point of death; masters who must sqeeze out the last strength from their servants for every penny they are paid; who must sqeeze out the last second of “working hours” for every overnight scrap of leftover gesture or gift they are given, often with vehement prominence that trumpets the gesture.

It is unfair to expect abundant harvest from a soil into which one invests no manure.


From The Preacher’s diary.