Within the Amos 5:18-24, 1 Thessalonians 5:18-24, and Matthew 25:1-13 texts there is the theme of watching and waiting for the coming of the Lord and living in ways that are appropriate in preparation for that coming. Other situations are addressed within the other texts selected.
The relationship between God and the “saints” is the basic theme of these texts and of this occasion. The “saints,” as the term is used here, are the holy People of God. They are “holy” because of their relationship with God, who is ultimately “Holy.” This includes the holy People of God who are still living and are in a covenantal relationship with God here and now, and those who have lived and died with faith in God and are perceived as being with God in a wondrous way now. Some Christians perceive the “saints” in a narrow, limited sense that may even be restricted to their own denomination or local fellowship. Other Christians have a much more open and broad perception of the holy People of God in which God, rather than they, keep the statistical records.
The principal theme in most of the texts selected for our use this week is that the leaders among the People of God should be humble, diligent servants of God. Those leaders who are not humble, diligent servants of God are soundly condemned in these texts. These texts are, therefore, almost entirely parenetic, concerned about lifestyle. The proclamation that is present in most of these texts is proclamation of condemnation.
We see in these texts that we are directed to love God unconditionally, “with our entire heart, with our entire psyche, and with our entire mind.” As we grow in experiences and maturity, we realize that only God is capable of receiving our unconditional love, only God is worthy of it, and only God can handle it. We are to love God in a way that is different from the way in which we love all people and from the way that we love ourselves. We are to give ourselves totally to God, just as the Matthew 22:15-22 text we used this past week puts it with its “But you belong to God.”