An Attitude Check
Conducting an Attitude Check
“He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteousness man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.”
Throughout chapter 10, Jesus warned his disciples that they would face rejection and persecution. The walk of obedience to Christ will result in persecution and opposition from those who reject Christ and his sovereign rule. However, despite the threat of persecution and opposition they will face, Christ also promises that he will provide his protective care so that they are willing to remain loyal to Christ even though it may cost them dearly. If Christ faced rejection and opposition, his followers would also face persecution and opposition. However, they are not to surrender to the pressure to deny Christ. Instead, they are to rest in the sovereign provision and providential care of God, who knows every detail of his followers' lives and will guide and protect them.
As he closes his exhort, Christ moves from opposition to the reward for service. Even though there will be those who reject us because of our identity with Christ, others will be ready to accept Jesus’ spiritual leaders. As Jesus’ disciples go forth, people will welcome and receive the disciples as God’s messengers. The prophets were significant figures in the Old Testament, for they proclaimed the prophetic message of God. Even though many rejected the Old Testament prophets (and many still do), God promises a reward for those who accept God's message. To accept the messenger is to accept the one who sent him. It is to recognize that these individuals spoke from God. When a person accepts and responds to the message, he aligns himself with the prophet and, therefore, will receive the same reward as a prophet.
The same is true of a righteous man. This speaks of any individual who comes in the name of Christ and is living according to the word of God. To accept Christ is also to get those who come in the name of Christ. But this acceptance goes beyond just the spiritual leaders that God has sent but also extends to any individual who has identified with Christ, even the “little ones” who would include all the ordinary, unobtrusive, and even marginalized followers of Jesus. When we accept them because they are followers of Christ, we also get them for what they identify with, that is, the person of Christ himself. If they serve God, no matter how small, even giving a cup of water to another, they will be rewarded, and those who receive the service will also be rewarded.
However, the focus in these verses is not the attitude of the servant serving Christ but the attitude of the service recipient. This points us to examine our attitude towards others within the church who are serving the church. The mutual ministry of the church is a two-way street. Not only are we to minister to others, but we are also to be willing to receive the ministry of others. We are to recognize the contribution that others make to the church and readily accept them and their ministry to us. In these verses, Jesus confronts us with an attitude check about the work others do in the church. Do we disregard their ministry? Do we refuse to allow them to serve us because we are too proud to admit we need them? Do we judge others in their service because we see their faults rather than their faith in Christ? We are approved and rewarded by God for what we do for him and how we respond to the ministry of others serving us.