Monday, December 6, 2010

Duty or Reward?

"So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, 'We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'"
(Luke 17:10)

There's a curious parable in Luke 17.  Jesus talks about how servants 'do their job' and what's expected of them.  Their master doesn't offer them regular opportunities to be served.  No.  They know their job and they do it.  Willingly.  Then Jesus directs this parable to the disciples.  What's curious, however, is the phrase "worthless slaves" that he uses.  To a 'modern' audience, it sounds kinda harsh & uncaring.  But I think Jesus was simply stating the current reality of servants.  Nothing more.

A note in my Oxford Study Bible says this means our devotion to God is a "duty to be fulfilled" and not an occasion for reward.  This makes sense!  How often do we see "going to church," or serving the poor, or reading scripture, or praying as a "noble endeavor"?  Like it's a big sacrifice we've made to do these things, and we expect to be rewarded somehow (or at least complimented & congratulated).  NO, Jesus says.  You do it because you're supposed to.  Period.  It's what's expected of us as followers of Christ.  Holiness & devotion should be the NORM, not some kind of "extra credit."

That kinda changes how we should look at things, doesn't it?

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