Donald Trump on The Apprentice
In the television program The Apprentice young people get the chance to get a job working for the very wealthy businessman Donald Trump. When each new season begins, there are a dozen young men and women who have hopes of getting this fantastically high paying job with tremendous opportunities for the future. The program is set up as a competition, and in the end, only one will get the job. The show consists of a weekly assignment from Donald Trump for these ‘apprentices.’ They might be assigned to run, or to improve, some kind of small business; something that will demonstrate their skills. At the end of each weekly program, their performance is evaluated, and then one of the young hopefuls is eliminated, hearing from Donald Trump the dreaded words, “You’re fired.” The rest are allowed to continue the competition.
One of the things you see right away on the program is that Donald Trump is in charge. It is his show, his job to give, his opinions and evaluations that count, his decision to make on who gets fired, and his money that makes the whole thing possible. Donald Trump is the boss, and what he says goes, and when he talks, you better shut up and listen. The occasional smart aleck that dares to forget that is, from then on, skating on thin ice. And it shouldn’t require a college education to figure out who’s the boss. Even the ancients had a proverb for it that went like this: “He who holds the gold, makes the rules.” Many parents have had the very same advice for their kids when they get their first job, telling their son or daughter to, “Be quiet and just do what you are told. You are working for them, so it is your job to do what they say, with no back talk. You have to remember who is the boss.”
Jesus once told a little parable about this very thing, reminding us who really is the boss and how he should be obeyed. The story is told in Luke 17:7-10:
(Jesus said), “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”
Jesus is describing what it means to submit to God’s authority. There is this master and his servant, or we would say, an employer and an employee. The employee has been outside, working hard, and doing all the chores. Then it is mealtime. The employee is probably tired and hungry, but he is still on still on duty. Jesus asks if the boss will now say, “Sit down, son, put your feet up, and rest a while, and I’ll get you something to eat.” Of course not. That boss will just expect that that employee will get the boss’s meal ready, serve it, clear the table, do the dishes, ask the master if he needs anything else, and if not, then and only then will that employee be able to make a quick sandwich for himself. That’s what it says in the job description, so when that is all done, that employee will get no special pat on the back, no bonus on his check, and probably not even a thank you. That’s what his job is, and that is what is expected, and when everything is done, all that servant can say (verse 10), “I am just an unworthy servant and I have merely done my duty.”
Think again about Donald Trump’s apprentices. Could you imagine any of those young people– so eager to please and impress and get that million dollar job– could you imagine any one of them sitting down for their meeting with the great and powerful Donald Trump and saying, “Say Donny, before we begin, would you want to run out and get me a cup of coffee?” Or could you imagine any one asking Donald Trump why he doesn’t spend some of his money on a better barber who can give him a decent haircut and tell him how to comb his hair right. Of course not. They would never say anything like that to ‘the Donald’ as long as they still had so much to gain from him. Donald Trump is not going to be anyone’s errand-boy, and he doesn’t want any criticism or second guessing out of any of those pip-squeaks. But if HE were to tell his apprentices that they would have to lick the bottom of his shoe in order to stay in the contest, they would all jump up and do as they were told.
Now apply this to our relationship with God. God is the boss; an infinitely greater boss than Donald Trump. Everything on earth is God’s to give or with-hold, to whomever he sees fit and for whatever reason, and he is not obligated to explain his actions or give his reasons for anything. But this God also says that we may appear before him, just as the apprentices appear before the great Donald Trump, and we may bring to God our questions, our burdens, and our requests. So how do we act when we appear before God? Most of the apprentices know enough to come before Donald Trump with the appropriate respect and humility. They know they are there to serve him, obey him, to please him, and to await his all important word.
How about you? Are you as anxious to serve and obey God as those apprentices are anxious to serve and obey Donald Trump? Are you as anxious to hear God’s all important words for you? Or, are you more likely to come before God mainly with your requests and complaints? (continued…)
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT (Exodus 20:2-3):
I Am the Lord Your God (the boss)
You shall have no other gods before me.
PRAYER BASED ON LUTHER’S CATECHISM MEANING TO THE FIRST COMMANDMENT:
Give us the faith, Lord, to fear, love, and trust in you above all things. Amen.
Donald Trump on a bad hair day