Friday, January 17

Unworthy servants

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

Luke 17:10 In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’ ”


Jesus gives the example of a servant who comes in from the field at the end of the day.  Does his master invite him to sit down for a meal?  No.  The master asks him to serve him dinner, and then the servant eats.  Does the master thank him for doing what he was told?  No.  Then, verse 10.

This all sounds heartless to our modern ears.  But it would have been entirely normal for them; these were normal expectations for masters and servants.  Don’t miss what Jesus is saying.  He is telling us something important about our relationship with God. 

Unfortunately, the NLT loses something in translation here.  Almost all other translations render this, “When you have done everything you were told to do…”.  Two important thoughts.  First, who among us has done everything God asks of us?  None!  Second, when you do everything, you’ve done your duty—you haven’t gone above and beyond the call of duty; you’ve only done what was expected.  

To use a modern analogy, we don’t expect our boss at work to gush all over us when we simply do our job.  We just did our job, what was expected of us.  

Servants never expected to be thanked or praised for doing their duty.  In the same way, we should humbly realize that we are God’s servants and even if we do everything, we have only done our duty, what we owe Him.  


This is a great reminder that I’m the Lord’s servant and owe Him everything.  Rather than seeking praise and recognition and thanks, I should simply seek to serve Him well.  So often we get bent out of shape if we are not recognized, thanked and praised.   

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be liberal with praise and thanks for others—we should.  Nor am I saying that God never offers that to us—He does.  And when He does, it’s pure grace.

I am saying that I shouldn’t do things to be recognized or praised.  I should do them to serve the Lord because I love Him and I owe Him my life!

Prayer: Lord, I want to be Your servant today.  My reward will be the privilege of serving You, who gave everything for me.