Wednesday, January 17

When you’ve done all…

Scripture: Genesis 42-43, Psalm 5, Luke 17

Luke 17:10 In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, “We are worthless slaves; we’ve only done our duty.”


Humility is one of the key virtues of Jesus and His followers.  In this illustration, Jesus appeals to the customs of His day.  When a servant came in after a long day in the fields, his master didn’t offer him dinner.  Instead, the master expected him to put the master’s needs ahead of his own, and fix the master’s dinner before eating his own.  And the servant won’t get any special praise for doing what was expected of him—he was simply doing his job, his duty.  In the same way, when we’ve done everything God expects of us (who does that!), we don’t expect any special praise—we’ve just done our job.

The NET translation renders “we are worthless slaves” as “we are undeserving of special praise.”

Here’s the point: We don’t deserve special praise for doing what was expected of us.  We can never put God in our debt.  He never owes us anything.  The best we can do is our duty, and none of us really comes close to doing that.   This is a lesson for those who are tempted to feel proud of their faith or good works.

I don’t believe Jesus is saying that we are worthless slaves.  I think He is  using this illustration to remind us to give our very best, and then stay humble, knowing that we can never repay God for His goodness.  Ultimately, giving our best is motivated by love, not law, by devotion, not duty.

Were the whole realm of Nature mine,

That were an offering far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.


Today’s challenge is live in humble gratitude of all that God has done for me, and then motivated by His grace, give my very best back to Him, knowing that I can never come close to repaying Him.

Prayer: Lord, here is my soul, my life, my all.  Thank you!