“So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’” (Luke 17:10).
Do Jesus’ words here strike you as unJesus-like? Wouldn’t you expect him to talk about the rewards of grace for doing what he asks like he explains elsewhere in the Bible? But here, Jesus is stressing the privilege of being a servant. He is also stressing that we earn nothing from our service. Rather, a servant does what he is told.
If we think these words are negative, we need to look at it from Jesus’ perspective. In love, he became man to live a perfect life for you and die for you. In love, he took great pains to make sure you heard the good news about him. In love, though he is all-sufficient without us, he condescends to use us in carrying out the task of telling others about him. In love, he gives us his powerful means to carry out that task through his Word and sacraments. The point? What a privilege to be his servant! What a blessing to be part of kingdom work, unworthy servants that we are! What a privilege to come from the throne room of the great King with an urgent message to share with the world! All glory is his. . . . We have only done our duty. I guess these words aren’t so unJesus-like after all. These words drip with his love! Thank you for the privilege, Jesus!