LUKE 17:7-10: “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ” NKJV
OBSERVATION: And, the winner is… It is award season again. It is that time of the year when the world gathers to watch the elite of our world shower each other with praise and give away a statute or plaque that symbolizes their great achievements. As the music crescendos, and the camera pans, we hear,
“And the winner is…”
To be honest, I have stopped watching these shows a long time ago. My wife likes to watch the red carpet preview to see the gowns the women are wearing, Yet, after a few minutes into most of these award shows we usually turn it off. It is not merely because of the sense of peer worship that is going on. It is mainly because what they are celebrating is so diametrically opposed to our values.
What is the takeaway from these experiences and the teaching of Jesus that is noted in this passage from Luke? The servant of God is never to make their personal reward or recognition the goal of their service. A servant of God is to be joyful simply to serve – even when there is not thanks or recognition that follows.
- “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.”
This runs counter to how we are wired. We all like to be thanked and appreciated. In fact, when we are not recognized we can get downright mad. All we have to do is think about the example of Martha and Mary. Martha was busy preparing a meal for Jesus and His disciples, while Mary simply sat at Jesus’ feet listening to His teaching. Martha complained to Jesus about Mary’s unwillingness to help. However, I think it was more about Martha not getting an accolade from Jesus than not getting help from Mary.
We set ourselves up for disappointment in life when we do things for others in order to receive something back in return. If we give something with such an expectation it is really not a gift at all. In Jesus’ example he notes a servant that simply does his duty without expecting anything in return. Why? Because it is his duty. He is faithful because that is what his calling is. He is not employed to receive accolades and praise. He is employed to serve.
Some may cry – unfair! Doesn’t the Lord appreciate me? Doesn’t anyone care? The Lord does care. He watches us and never forgets one act of love, service, or sacrifice that we make. And, He holds for those who are faithful servants an eternal reward that is not made of metal or plastic. It is not tied to this life. It is tied to the life to come. And, nothing will ever take this reward away!
- “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” Hebrews 6:10 NKJV
- “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 NKJV
- “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” I Corinthians 9:24-25 NKJV
- “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Matthew 25:23 NKJV
Lord, as the world praises itself again this year, may I find joy in simply serving You out of faithfulness and love. May I look toward the heavenly reward that will not fade away. May I long to hear Your voice as You say,
“Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
In Jesus Name!