I remember going to a circus when I was quite young and seeing a large cage full of lions. The lions looked so mean and were roaring and pacing back and forth. I was certainly glad that I was outside the cage. Imagine how surprised I was when suddenly I saw a man enter into the cage. He had a whip and a chair. This man made the lions do all types of tricks, but they did not seem to be enjoying themselves. The lions would constantly roar and paw at the man. I asked my father why the lions would not attack the man and he answered because the whip scared them. I then asked, what would happen if the man would enter the cage without the whip and chair? My father answered that the man would be dinner for the lions. I fear that sometimes we tend to be like the lions, only serving God until there is an opportunity to pounce at sin.
In this week’s Torah portion the Children of Israel are at Mount Sinai waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain. The minute it appears to the people that Moses is late and perhaps something has happened to him the text states,
“And the people saw when Moses delayed from coming down the mountain, the people assembled around Aaron and they said to him, ‘Rise and make for ourselves gods…”
Soon thereafter the people began to sin. The point is this: once Moses seemed to be out of the picture, the people rushed to commit sin (See verse 6). The question that one must ask himself is this, “Are we any different than the Children of Israel were that day”? Each believer needs to examine himself and ask why we do the things we do in the name of Yeshua. If it is because we feel we have to act in a certain manner, rather than embrace these things with joy because we want to do them, I fear that we are relating to Yeshua like the lions did to their tamer.
Once Yeshua said to His disciples that He does not call them a servant, but a friend (See John 15:15). Why was this? Because once a servant understands His master’s business and commits to the task, the relationship between them is altered. The master and the slave are both committed to the same thing and there is no longer the necessity for the master to enslave him in order to make him do the task. Now the slave wants to do it and this mutual commitment binds them together in a friendship. This is what Yeshua desires from each believer.
This Shabbat ask yourself how you relate to the things you do in the Name of Yeshua; as obligations or as something you would want to do for a beloved friend.