Reflection for Tuesday 10th November 2020

Jon Ellis

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Reflection Luke 17:7-10

Jesus said, “Suppose one of you had a servant ploughing 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.’”


This parable appears to have been spoken with reference to the rewards that the disciples were expecting in the Jesus’ kingdom. It is not clear when this conversation happened as it does not seem to have any particular connection with the previous verses. The disciples appear to be impatient to have the kingdom restored to Israel {#Ac 1:6} over which the Messiah would assume his kingly power, and that they were impatient in the delay, and anxious to have the rewards which they expected, and which they probably were expecting because of their commitment to following him.

In answer to these expectations, Jesus spoke this parable, showing them:
Firstly, that they should be rewarded in the same way that a servant would be provided for;
Secondly, that this was not the first thing; there was a proper order, a servant’s reward might be delayed, and the servant would be provided for at the time when the master decided;
Thirdly, this reward was not to be expected because they were worthy, but would be given from God’s grace, not that they were hard working servants.

The master would not as soon as he returned from the field, direct the servants to eat and drink. Hungry and weary as the servant might be, it would be expected that he first to attend to his master’s needs. So the apostles were not to be impatient because they did not at once receive the reward they were looking for.

This parable tells us our position as believers; we are here as servants. It is not the time for feasting yet. Whatever work we have done, even if it is getting towards the evening of our life, we must not think of sitting down yet, and expecting our Master to wait on us. No, we must go on with our service, and still consider it to be our highest privilege to work for Jesus, and wait on him. This is not the place of resting or of feasting; now is the time when we are serving our God. Let us work on, ploughing while we have strength for it; and when the sun goes down in the evening, then waiting like servants at the table of their lord.

Jesus was asking them, “Would you say to a servant, ‘I am very grateful to you for doing your duty.’?” No. And so even when we serve God best, should we expect honour as his due? No, we will have honour because of the grace of our Master; but it is not our place to look for it, much less is it right for us to expect it as our due.

And who will praise us for that? The most self-denying servant of the Saviour, the most hard-working labourer for the Lord, will expect nothing of God except to be blessed by God’s abounding grace. What can we deserve from the wonderful hands of him who bought us with his sacrifice on the cross? Are we not the bonded servants of Christ? “You are not your own; you are bought with a price.” Therefore, whatever service you can give is due to him; and to him let it be freely given without one thought of self-praise or pride because we have done well.

God of glory,
touch our lips with the fire of your Spirit,
that we with all creation
may rejoice to sing your praise;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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