December 28, 2008
Usually there is some question, or event that leads to one of Jesus parables. In this instance the
preceding parable ( Luke 17:1-6) leads to this particular parable. In His admonishment to have
a forgiving spirit toward others, they thought that the answer was to “increase our faith”. Jesus then gives them an example of faith being as small as a grain of mustard seed, yet having the ability to do great things for God. In this analogy, Jesus is telling them that it is not the quantity of faith, but the quality of faith that matters.
He further illustrates their error pertaining to their relationship with Him by continuing His analogy by starting the next parable with “But which of you,..” (Vs.7) thus connecting the two parables together.
The lesson for the disciples, and for us is this; if they received more faith what would be the result? Would they pride themselves on their ongoing victories of faith, or would they allow such victories to make them more than ever, the bond slave of their Master? (Luke 10:17; 9:46; 9:54) These verses of scripture indicate that the disciples did not understand how the gift of faith was to be used for God.
I. Luke 17:7 In all matters concerning our service to God, we are totally subject to Him.
The word “servant” means a bond slave. As servants we are not our own. Acts 20:28 tells us that we have been purchased so we should know that we belong to Him that bought us. We have no title to anything that may be in our possession. God has every right to everything we have including our time.
Notice that Jesus uses the analogy of the servant “feeding cattle”. This usage of feeding cattle or sheep, or the church is used often by Jesus to illustrate spiritual labor, see John 21:16; Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:2. Take notice that even after the servant has spent time “feeding the cattle” that he is not given opportunity to rest but must immediately take up additional tasks to please his master. This is Jesus way of telling them, and us, that a slaves work is never done, but he must keep himself always at the call of his master. Although weariness may set in often, a slave is under the obligation to continue serving.
II. Luke 17:8 All of our resources and energies must be for the Master first and ourselves last. Jesus indicates in the verse that the servant is to continue to serve Him first before resting or thinking of taking care of himself. Matthew 6:33 Until the Master is satisfied, the servant is obligated to do His will.
In Luke 12:35-37 Jesus had told these same disciples that the time will come when the servants of the Master will be rewarded. However, He also had indicated to them that He also was a servant to His Father, (John 4:32-34) and was on a mission to complete the work that He was sent to complete.
III. Luke 17:9 We have to right to claim any praise or reward for our obedience and service. Here we see Jesus illustrating that there is never a point at which the servant can say’ “I have done enough and should be rewarded”. The slave is not entitled to anything. This verse may be a rebuke toward the disciples for their apparent self-righteousness that had crept into their hearts in Mark 10:35-37; Luke 22:24.
IV. Luke 17:10 An unpretending humility to the Master is demanded of us.
If a slave,(or we), expect a thank you or a reward for doing our duty in love and respect for our Master, then we show the master and ourselves that our heart was not in the duty. Jesus indicates here that an attitude of pride had crept into the disciples because of their service rendered up until the present time. They thought that they had earned rewards and recognition for their actions. Jesus reminds them, and us, of what Isaiah 64:6 says about our works of righteousness.
Reflections- Are we working and serving our Lord with all our hearts and strength? Is our attitude one of a bond slave that deserves no credit or reward? Are we looking for recognition for our labor?Does God hold first place in everything we own including our time?