The Gospel of Luke: a commentary & meditation

"We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty"

Scripture:  Luke 17:7-10

7 "Will any one of you, who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep, say to him when he has come in from the field, `Come at once and sit down  at table'?  8 Will he not rather say to him, `Prepare supper for me, and gird yourself and serve me, till I eat and drink; and afterward you shall eat and drink'? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, `We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'"

Meditation: Do you give your best, regardless of the cost? Aren't we like the laborer in Jesus' parable who expected immediate reward and compensation for his day's work?  How unfair for the master to compel him to give more than what was expected!  Don't we love to assert our rights: "I will give only what is required and no more!" But who can satisfy the claims of love? Jesus used this parable of the dutiful servant to explain that we can never put God in our debt or make the claim that God owes us something. We must regard ourselves as God's servants, just as Jesus came "not to be served, but to serve" (Matthew 20:28). Service of God and of neighbor is both a voluntary or free act and a sacred duty.  One can volunteer for public service or be compelled to do service for one's country.  Likewise, God expects us to give him the worship and praise which is his due.  And he gladly accepts the  free-will offering of our lives to him and his service.  What makes our offering pleasing to God is the love we express in the gift of self-giving.  True love is sacrificial, generous, and selfless. How can we love others selflessly and unconditionally?  God himself is Love (1 John 4:16) and he fills our hearts with the boundless love that gives what is good for the sake of others. If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12).  God honors the faithful servant who loves generously. He is ever ready to work through and in us for his glory. We must remember, however, that God can never be indebted to us. We have no claim on him. His love compels us to give him our best!  And when we have done our best, we have simply done our duty. We can never outdo God. Does the love of God compel you to give your best?

"Lord, fill my heart with love, gratitude and generosity. Make me a faithful and zealous servant for you. May I generously pour out my life in loving service for you and for others, just as you have so generously poured yourself out for me."

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 (c) 1999, 2000 Don Schwager