SERVE WITH HUMILITY
Luke 17:7 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?
Susan: Let’s take a look at the word translated “servant”:
Strong’s 1401 doúlos (a masculine noun of uncertain derivation) – properly, someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own. Ironically, 1401 /doúlos ("bond-slave") is used with the highest dignity in the NT – namely, of believers who willingly live under Christ's authority as His devoted followers.
Susie: The servant pictured here is a slave who is owned by the master. Some will argue that Jesus told the twelve:
John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
Susie: However, we must take that statement in context by looking at the verse before it:
John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Susan: We must remember that the Apostle Paul often referred to himself as Jesus’s “doulos” or “slave”:
Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God. . .
Susie: When we surrender our lives to Christ, we are giving up our right to ourselves. Jesus is our master. We are owned by Him, but He gives us the privilege of calling Him “friend.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
Susan: In this parable, the hard-working servant does not receive preferential treatment. The obvious answer to Jesus’s question is that he would not be allowed to eat before his master. Jesus was the prime example of servanthood even though He is our Master:
Matthew 20:27-28 . . .and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Luke 17:8 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?
Susie: The servant comes in from his outdoor work and continues his duties by cleaning up and serving a meal to his master before taking care of his own needs.
Susan: He or she walks in from a hard day’s work and picks up his or her work inside the home. After their owner has been served, they may dine. They probably did not even eat at the dining table but rather in the kitchen.
Susie: There is a point we must remember. As a slave, this person owned nothing. Everything he needed was provided by the master. He had to wait for his dinner, but that dinner was his to eat because his master took care of his needs. Room and board were his wages for doing his job.
Luke 17:9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
Susie: The master does not heap praise on this servant for doing what is expected of him. It can be compared to a soldier. If he merely does what he is commanded to do, he receives no pat on the back, no medals. Those rewards are reserved for the one who goes over and above what is expected. Every soldier receives his provisions and his pay, but only those who serve wholeheartedly and sacrificially are rewarded more than that.
Luke 17:10 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.
Strong's Greek 888: Unprofitable, useless, unworthy. Useless, i.e. unmeritorious.
Susie: Our obedience to our Lord, our Master, is no reason to boast. We are simply doing our duty toward the One who gave His life for us and who provides for all our needs. The Apostle Paul understood this well. After lining out his pedigree of righteousness, he stated:
Philippians 3:7-9 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Susie: Even after Paul had started many churches and was a “successful” preacher of the word of God, his boast was in Jesus and not himself.
Galatians 6:14 (NASB) But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Susan: One might ask about the master saying, “well done”. Our master, Jesus, does bless us in return for our obedience, and we hope to hear “well done.” However, note what He calls the person who has done well:
Matthew 25:21a His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant:
Susan: We are servants to the kindest of masters who blesses us. We are sheep belonging to the Good Shepherd who provides for us plenteously. We are children of Father God who loves us unconditionally. In none of this may we boast because these statements are true because of God’s grace and not our merit.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Susie: Our good works, our service, does not win our favor with God. In fact, it is His grace that empowers us to serve Him faithfully and to do good things. He designed us to do good works and enables us to do them.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them
Susan: If we boast at all, it can only be boasting in what the Lord has done through us because of our relationship with Jesus. All that we are, all that we do, and all that we have is found “in Him”.
Ponder this and apply it: God did not choose us because we were worthy. Rather He has made us worthy by the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us. All that is good in us is because we are in Christ. Look up some of the following scriptures or do your own search for scripture verses containing the words “in Christ” or “in Him.” (1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Ephesians 1:10, Ephesians 1:19-20, Philippians 3:9).