17th MARCH

Catching a glimpse of what God requires - dutiful service

Luke 17: 7 - 10

“We are unworthy servants;  we have only done our duty.”

There is very often a tension between right and responsibilities.  The relationship between them has been tested to the limit during the pandemic.  Those making decisions had to  strike the right balance between restricting rights in order to protect people giving people the freedom to make their own decisions.  We have rights and freedoms people have fought and died for, but we also have responsibilities in communities together, in this nation together and in this world together.  If a government has the responsibility of protecting citizens then citizens have a duty to respond.

What does this mean for us as “citizens of heaven” as Paul describes us at Philippians 3:20?  Our sovereign God from the beginning of time has pledged to protect us as we are reminded of in his many promises.  These promises were brought to life in Christ Jesus. In the early church there were heretical groups who believed that, because of what Christ has done for all of us, they didn’t need to worry about how they lived.  Our response to the privilege of being called “citizens of heaven” surely should be that sense of responsibility as we live as responsible citizens?

The lesson in today’s parable is one that reminds us of is of our responsibility as dutiful servants  The idea of servitude which is bordering on slavery quite rightly doesn’t sit well with us today.  This makes stories like this one somewhat uncomfortable.  However, it is important to note that this parable is not about slavery or anything related to it.  This story is one that the people would have understood at the time of Jesus and in no way supports a person lording it over another.  It looks at our relationship with God as we are called to be his servants.  He never ever shirks from his responsibilities as he cares for us, supports us and is always there for us.  What he looks for in response is that we respond to the privilege of being a child under his care by taking seriously our responsibility to him and each other:  to ensure that we do our duty.

The servant in the story did more than their duty.  They went the extra mile.  We get a sense that they were in the master’s service 24/7.  Faith and the expression of it in service is not just for Sundays and hey days and holidays.  Our duty to God and to others is to be found in every opportunity that comes our way to declare in word and action that we are in his service.

  • What does it mean to do your duty?  What does it mean in relation to our relationship with God and our relationship with each other?

God who is as a mother and father to us,

what a privilege to be called your children, precious in your sight.

May we never take this for granted, but seek ways to respond as your servants.

AMEN.