Sermon preached at Poole Christian Fellowship on 6 June 2015
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Luke 17 v 7-10
There have been many employees, teenage children and school children who have been told in no uncertain terms to “Sort Out your attitude!” In this passage Jesus us saying that to us as well.
In the context he is speaking to the Pharisee, of whom he said “everything they do is done for men to see”, and also to is disciples, who had a track record of arguing about who was the greatest. Here Jesus shows us that our attitude to who we are, to the work we do for God, and to the God we serve, needs to be in the right place.
“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 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.’”
The word used in the New Testament to describe the servant role of the Christian is “Doulos”. This is the same word used to describe a Roman slave, one who is owned by his master and over whom the master has the right of life and death. You fate as a slave is totally dependent on who owns you!
So we need to take a couple of things on board:
1.One thing after another
After looking after the sheep all day, the servant might have wanted to put his feet up. But the servant of Jesus has no such rights. We belong to Him.
2. Wait on the Master
The servant is required not to look after his own needs, but to wait on his Master. So all we do should be for Jesus. Is it?
3. No expectation of appreciation
The servant expects no appreciation from his master – and he is not disappointed. Often we can do things to make a name for ourselves, to get our own affirmation or reputation. But the servant of Jesus has to be willing to do things for no reward. After all – we are his!
4. Recognition that we are unprofitable servants
Literally the word means “useless” or “good for nothing” – we are just so blessed to be working for god – not the other way round. We have nothing in us to commend ourselves to Jesus’ service, and He has every reason not to employ us – we are unprofitable, but his grace knows no bounds.
5. We have only done our duty
Whatever we have done for Jesus, we can never be said to havedone anything more than that which we ought to do. Duty is doing something we ought to do, whether we want to or not. Every time we do something for Jeuss – even that which we would rather not do – we have only done what we should.
If we have really taken on the above, we have sorted out our attitude.
None of this means that God is unappreciative of course. Matthew talks of Jesus saying “well done , good and faithful servant” to those who have followed him faithfully. There will be no shortage of appreciation, encouragement, and reward for those who have served faithfully. But, the key point here is our attitude. We are servants of Jesus. Let us never forget it.