Luke 17:
“Suppose one of you has a servant ploughing 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’? 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’? 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.’”

In the Jewish Mishna, a rabbi says, "If you have studied the Torah, do not claim merit for yourself, since you were created for this." The same is true of service for God. Committed service is a disciple's privilege.[i]

Compare that idea to the Pharisee in the Temple who has an expectation based on doing his duty.

Luke 18:
11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

He was convinced that being better than other people and doing religious duties gave him special consideration from God. In contrast, God was pleased with the tax collector who came without bragging rights… just a deep sense of his failure and a desire to be in God’s presence.

We do not negotiate with God by proving our worth. We prove God’s worth by quietly doing the right thing. He gets the praise, not us.

[i] The IVP New Testament Commentary Series


Anonymous said…
Well said Kevin.