Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm One Hundred Nineteen Verse One Hundred Five
“But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:7-10)
In our text today we have what almost seems like a hodgepodge of principles, but upon careful examination, we see that they are all related. Jesus begins by declaring that “offences” are going to come (v. 1), especially as these disciples were about to enter that time of extreme persecution in the first century. People are going to do bad things at times. We are all sinners living in a very sinful world. It is just in their nature to sin against others. However, he warns that the people who commit those offences will be judged harshly (v. 2). The Bible is very clear that we are not to avenge ourselves (Romans 12:19), but rather are to leave all judgement to God who will, in His time, deal with those who oppress and persecute His children. Jesus then reminds these disciples that must be willing to forgive each other – repeatedly if needed. The disciples know that this will be difficult and ask the Lord to increase their faith (v. 5), so that they would be able to do this. Jesus states that if they had even a little bit of faith, they could do amazing and supernatural, impossible things.
In verse seven, it almost seems like Jesus is introducing a new topic, but I believe he is still referring to forgiveness. Forgiveness is Christianity 101. It is the foundational principle of Christian living, and we should not be expecting some great “Attaboy” for forgiving our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus loves us and forgives all that we have done and continues to forgive all our current and future offences against Him; it is the least that we can do to forgive others (Matthew 18:21 – 35).
Christians ought not to be looking for special recognition for anything that do in service to the Lord. We are His servants. Yet, He has given all to redeem us. We are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:2-; 7:23). Now, the Lord does reward us and even recognize us for our service, but we ought not be looking for recognition, we ought to be content with just being able to serve the One who loved us and died for our sins. Besides, if we only do just what is commanded, we are unprofitable. We ought to be cheerfully willing to go above and beyond just what was commanded of us.
By the way, we should not be looking for recognition by people either. Stop expecting a pat on the back every time you pick a piece of paper up off the floor or put a dollar in the offering box. You should not be looking for recognition by men.
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:1-4)
One final thought. Though we should not be looking for recognition from others for the good things that we do, we should try to recognize and appreciate the people who are serving us by serving the Lord. Our recognition should not be their motivation, but it is right for us to appreciate privately and publicly those who are doing right.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.