When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus to “increase their faith” Jesus threw the following challenge to them: “Which one of you having a slave tending sheep or plowing will say to him when he comes in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? Instead, will he not tell him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, get ready, and serve me while I eat and drink; later you can eat and drink’? Does he thank that slave because he did what was commanded? In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are good-for-nothing slaves; we’ve only done our duty.’”
Jesus knew their motives! They wanted to show that they can ask for ‘favours’ because of their increased faith! But even if a person should do all that is commanded of him, he still would not have put God in debt to him to reward him. Favour cannot be earned!
Jesus teaches humility and obedience here. Though faith is powerful that it can move mountains, still it will not earn salvation and we must not be prideful nor vain – glorious if we possess such faith.
We are often tempted to compare ourselves with others and say, “Oh if only I had his/ her faith.” The Moody Bible Commentary says that Jesus is telling His disciples that it’s not the size or amount of faith but the object of faith that gives faith it’s power. They should be prepared as a slave, completely at the Master’s disposal. In the end NO ONE can boast in eternity before God for the works that they did in time on Earth, we will gladly tell the Father, “We are simply good-for-nothing slaves; we have only done our duty.”
D. Russell wrote, “This rebukes the self-satisfied Christian who thinks that in obeying God, he has done something especially meritorious.”
How often we boast of our years of experience, of our skills and of our ability to ‘do’ God’s work! And, as a result, we expect others ‘to recognize, to accept, to acknowledge and to respect’ us. When this does not happen, the blame game begins!
A faithful servant should not expect any special reward since he did what he was told to do. The servant was indeed useful as he cared for his master’s fields, flocks and food. But this does not mean that he can ‘claim’ reward. The fact that Jesus will reward his servants is wholly a matter of God’s Grace!
Warren Wiersbe warns that we should avoid two extremes: 1) doing our duty in a slavish way, because we have to, or 2) doing our duty with a hope to gain a reward.
The right attitude is “doing the will of God from our heart (Eph. 6.6). Shall we say like the psalmist, “I delight to do thy will. Oh my God! Yea! Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).
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