Would any of you say to your servant, who had just come in from the field after plowing or tending sheep, “Come! Sit down for dinner?” Wouldn’t you say instead, “Fix my dinner. Put on the clothes of a table servant and wait on me while I eat and drink. After that, you can eat and drink”? You won’t thank the servant because the servant did what you asked, will you? In the same way, when you have done everything required of you, you should say, “We servants deserve no special praise. We have only done our duty.” Luke 17:7-10
It is easy to be focused in our daily activities on relishing the sense of a great job well done. We also, perhaps, have come to expect to be rewarded, recognized or, at least, thanked in some way for performing so admirably amongst our peers. In our culture—one that emphasizes individual achievement, supply and demand, expectations for fair compensation—Jesus’s message here may at first seem counterintuitive, if not downright disrespectful. Yet, Jesus invites us into an opportunity for grace—serving without clinging to expectations about what we should receive in return. His servants’ rewards do not depend upon recognition or praise, but in the act of serving itself. As slaves or servants do not expect accolades for fulfilling their responsibilities, Jesus’s followers, likewise, should expect no special praise for obeying His teachings, even if they are hard or humbling.
Prayer: Heavenly Creator, thank you for your teachings and for opportunities to serve you and those around us. Help us to focus on acting as faithful followers without expecting accolades or personal benefits. We ask for your forgiveness when we become distracted by our own desires for tributes and flattery. Amen
Barry and Alinda Stelk