The More Important Things – 2


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Scripture Text – Luke 17

Jesus was preparing His disciples for the time when He would no longer be with them and they would be ministering to others in His place. It was a critical period in their lives and there are important lessons for us to learn from the Lord’s teaching.

In this chapter, Luke recorded lessons that Jesus gave His disciples about some of the more important essentials of the Christian life: forgiveness, faithfulness, thankfulness, and preparedness.

Faithfulness

“And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'” – Luke 17:7-10.

The introductory word and indicates that Jesus was now going to balance one lesson with another. Jesus knew there could be a danger in that the disciples might get so carried away with the idea of transplanting mulberry trees by faith that they would ignore the everyday responsibilities of life! Faith that does not result in faithfulness will not accomplish God’s work. It is good to have faith to do the difficult and the impossible, but it is essential that we have faith to do even the routine tasks our Master has committed to us. Privileges must always be balanced with responsibilities.

The servant in the story Jesus was relaying was evidently a “jack-of-all-trades,” for he was responsible for farming, shepherding, and cooking. It was not unusual for people with only modest means to hire at least one servant, but Jesus described a situation which in that day was unthinkable: a master ministering to his servant! In fact, He introduced the story with a phrase that in essence means, “Can any of you imagine?” . . . Jesus loved to use stories to turn common things around so their answer had to be, “No, we cannot imagine such a thing!”

et faithfulness

Jesus had already discussed His relationship to His servants and had promised to serve them if they were faithful (Luke 12:35–38). He Himself was among them as a servant (Luke 22:27), even though He was Master of all. This story emphasizes faithfulness to duty no matter what the demands might be, and the argument is from the lesser to the greater. If a common servant is faithful to obey the orders of his master who does not reward him even with thanks, how much more ought Christ’s disciples obey their loving Master, who has promised to reward them graciously beyond measure!

A faithful servant shouldn’t expect any special reward, since he did only what he was told to do. The word translated “unprofitable” means “without need,” that is simply put, “nobody owes us anything.” The servant was indeed profitable; after all, he cared for his master’s fields, flocks, and food. The statement literally means, “My master does not owe me anything extra.” The fact that Jesus will reward His servants is wholly a matter of God’s grace. We do not deserve anything just because we have obeyed Him and served Him.

As His servants, we must beware lest we have the wrong attitude toward our duties. There are two extremes to avoid: merely doing our duty in a slavish way because we have to, or doing our duty because we hope to gain a reward.

Christian industrialist R.G. LeTourneau used to say:

“If you give because it pays, it won’t pay.”

This principle also applies to service. Both extremes are seen in the attitudes of the elder brother from the story of the Prodigal (Luke 15:25–32), who was miserably obedient, always hoping that his father would let him have a party with his friends.

What then is the proper attitude for Christian service? Simply stated, “Doing the will of God from the heart.” – Ephesians 6:6.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” – John 14:15.

To the person who is born again, “His commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3.

Serving Him is a delight, not just a duty, and we obey Him because we love Him. “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.” – Psalm 40:8.

To Be Continued

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Volume 1.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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