You Have Only Done Your Duty


So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’

Luke 17:10

I feel good about myself when I do what I think I’m supposed to do. I think there’s a good, natural part. But really it’s usually dominated by the self-congratulatory part.

Jesus puts all of our good works in perspective. We think we’ve done something extraordinary by doing something good for someone. Jesus says it was our duty.

We were supposed to do it anyway. We are always supposed to love others. It’s what’s expected.

We would laugh at a co-worker who says, “Look how good I am! I did my job! Everybody, did you see that? I did all the work I had, on time, and I even did it well!” Your boss would rightly respond, “Should I have expected anything less?”

Jesus goes further.

You are an unworthy servant.

Even the ability to do good for our master is undeserved. We shouldn’t even be allowed to do good things for God. We’re to sinful. We don’t even deserve to do things for God. We’re too wretched.

But God is merciful and lets wicked and evil creatures like us do things for him.

That’s grace. Our joy shouldn’t come merely from doing good things for God. We’re supposed to do them no matter what. Our joy comes from being able to even serve God. We are the luckiest servants in the world.

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant

2 Corinthians 3:5-6

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