7699 - Obedience is Normal
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Human pride is an attribute warned against in Scripture, but the flesh is prideful indeed. Listen to Luke 17:7-10, then we will talk more.
"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, `Come along now and sit down to eat'? Would he not rather say, `Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?
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 culture surrounding Jesus many had servants who lived on the master’s place. They not only worked the fields and tended the herds, but they had duties in the house as well. These duties all blended into the job description.
Jesus paints the word picture of such a servant who completed his outside duties, and then entered the house. Would such a servant expect the landowner to compliment the servant and then have the servant to be seated at the table, and to receive the evening meal served by the master? Jesus answered his own question by reminding the people that such a thing would never take place in a Judean home. In that culture the roles were just the opposite. When the servant completed his outdoor duties, then he would come and tend to the needs of the master within the house. This would likely include the preparation of supper and tending to the table needs during the meal.
That was the job description within that culture. It may differ a bit in several cultures, but the principle remains in place throughout the world — the servant is never greater than his master. The hired hand always takes care of the employer. The servant always takes care of the master. Then they take care of their own needs. After they have served the master’s dinner then they can eat and drink.
In any culture the master is not expected to lavish praise upon the hired man who does his job. Of course, many times the employer will compliment the servant on a job well done; but the mind-set is to keep the role of servant and master well established.
Jesus is teaching his disciples about the many aspects of the Christian life. Without hammering them he tells them that whenever they have done everything that they have been instructed to do, then their own attitude should be one of humility and not pride. They should say: “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” It would not be proper to confront the master and praise yourself because you have done what was expected. We should realize that we have only done what was required. We have only been faithful to the contract we made.
Jesus had been teaching his followers about this humble attitude for many months.
On another occasion Jesus had called his disciples together and pointed out that the standard within the world system was for those in authority to lord it over those under them. They often were prideful of their elevated position and would keep reminding those under their power of this fact.
Then he outlines a vastly different attitude for his followers to evidence. Jesus said: “Whoever want to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever want to be first must ... evidence an attitude of encouragement and humility.(Mt. 20:26-27)”
To be sure they understood he was not putting them down, he reminded them that this had been his lifestyle and indeed, he would even give his life as a ransom for many.
Just before Jesus was crucified he told his disciples “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (Jn. 15:15)”
Christians are called upon to focus their eyes upon the Lord with their goal only to serve and please Him. We don’t work for praise, recognition or rewards. We understand that is our privilege to serve Him as master.