BLOG ENTRY #7 January 27, 2012

From “Discipleship and Discipline”, by William H. Hicks, copyright March, 2005:

“Now we must observe even more closely.  Once Rebekah has told her family about what has happened, the chief servant is invited into their home to partake of the family’s hospitality.  Rebekah’s relatives have taken care of the camels and brought water for Eliezer and his companions to wash their feet and refresh themselves (Gen. 24: 31 – 32).  It was in this manner that people showed that a person was welcome and indeed was held to be an honored guest in their house. Besides, this guy was obviously loaded.  They counted the camels in his caravan.  They saw the gifts he had given Rebekah! (Gen. 24: 30).  But the chief servant does a curious thing.  He says, “I will not eat until I have told my business.”  (Gen. 24: 33)

Most of us, if we had just spent all the time it took to travel halfway around the world to find this woman- the larger portion of that time spent bumping up and down on the back of a smelly, uncomfortable camel- we’ve found her, and now her family is going to throw a feast?!– We would have jumped at a home-cooked meal of some roast lamb with couscous and fresh baked pita bread!  In modern day terms, it’s as if we are on a business trip for the company and we have the company credit card.  We’ve just gotten off the plane after a seven hour flight across the country.  We can check into the very best hotel, into the nicest room, draw a hot bath, order room service and pamper ourselves.  Most of us would do- and have done- just that!  What does this hold for those of us who are well off, lacking no material thing?  It holds this: DISCIPLESHIP IS FOR THE RICH, TOO.  THEY JUST HAVE A DIFFERENT SET OF TRIALS AND TEMPTATIONS WITH WHICH TO WRESTLE IN FULFILLING THEIR CALL TO BEING DISCIPLES.  IT ALL GETS BACK TO DENIAL OF SELF.  9But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; 10and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. 11For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.  James 1: 9 – 11.

The chief servant does not “do just that”. He recounts his mission to Rebekah’s family, the charge he received from his master, Abraham.  In verse 49, the chief servant says, “So now if you are going to deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, let me know, that I may turn to the right hand or the left.”  Notice that he says, “deal kindly and truly with my master”, not “with me”.  That observation shows two of the important characteristics or attributes of a disciple, devotion to one’s master and the discipline to delay gratification.  FOOTNOTE THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED, M. SCOTT PECK, MD. The family’s response is to acknowledge that the matter is from the Lord, and they agree, saying “Behold, Rebekah is before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has spoken. (v. 51)  Once he has the family’s blessing, the chief servant brings out more gifts for Rebekah and her family; then he and his companions accept the hospitality of the house.”


William H. “Bill” Hicks is a graduate of Wesleyan University, BA, Religion, 1971 who also holds a Masters in Public Health Degree (MPH) from the University of Oklahoma Hudson College of Public Health (1973). Bill also has studied at the Dallas Theological Seminary. He grew up in Harlem, New York City, USA during the 1950s and 1960s, graduating from high school before attending Mount Hermon Preparatory School and undergraduate school in Connecticut. He has spent most of his professional life in the public health arena, while being constantly in ministry. He received his license to preach the Gospel at Oklahoma City, OK in 1971. He has written extensively on Christian topics. He enjoys life in Chattanooga, TN with former District Public Defender Ardena Garth Hicks, his wife of 30 years. They have two daughters, Rachel (BA, University of Memphis magna cum laude, 2014) and Sarah (Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, Global Scholar, University of Tulsa, 2017).
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