Sometimes when our brethren come in to discuss the scriptures with us preachers, what breaks out is an hour or more of significant study and not a contest of wills.
One of my brethren came to me asking about Luke 17:7-10, a little-studied piece of scripture (as far as I was concerned) that, to many people, may not be worthy of much consideration. But, how shortsighted that idea is!
Jesus tells the story about the slave who is working hard all day in the field. He asks, “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’?” (Luke 17:7 ESV). People didn’t usually extend such grace to their slaves.
Next, Jesus said, “He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?” (Luke 17:9 NASU). The slave was expected to do the work he did. He has no right to expect a reward for doing his duty.
Then, Jesus made the application of his story by saying, “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done,'” (Luke 17:10). What’s the story, here?
The apostles would do great things through the power to be given them. What should their mindset be? Should they think that because they have great faith and can do wondrous things that they are better than anybody else? Jesus had challenged them to higher faith earlier in this chapter.
But, there is the idea here that children of God may begin to think there is a limit to what they should do for the Master. Some believe that. They come to church, primarily to partake of the Lord ’s Supper, because they think that’s all that needs to be done. To them, there’s a limit on what to do for God, and that’s it!
In his commentary on Luke, William Barclay wrote, “It may be possible to satisfy the claims of the law… nothing can ever supply the claims of love.” Tell me. Have you ever done everything possible to please your mate? I love my wife so much I would deny her nothing I could provide.
But do we love God that much? Do we love Christ like that? Do we love them so much that there is nothing, small or great, that we wouldn’t do for them? Or, do we serve God by just giving him the “minimum daily requirement?”
The truth is that, even after we have done everything we can within our power to do for the Lord, we may not sit on our laurels. Nothing can supply the claims of love, our love for God. Jesus said, “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 5:20 NASU).
We must surpass. We must learn to love God that much.