Summary: The parable of a dutiful servant in Luke 17:7-10 teaches us about the ideal attitude that a disciple should have in serving God.
Does God owe you anything?
If you believe that God owes you anything, you may be unhappy when God fails to deliver. And even if God gives you what you want, you may still find something about which to complain.
You may be like the mother whose son was blown away by a tornado. The woman cried for help: “Please, Lord, bring back my boy! He’s all I have. I’ll do anything to get him back.”
Suddenly her son fell from the sky, right at her feet, a little shaken, but safe and sound. But as the mother joyfully embraced her son, she noticed that something was missing, and so she glared up at the heavens and said, “He had a hat, Lord!”
Let me ask another question: Do you owe God anything?
If you are a Christian, you believe that you owe God everything. You understand that everything you have is a gift from God. And so you praise God and give thanks for his abundant mercies to you.
Jesus wanted his disciples to understand that God owes them nothing, and they owed him everything. Because of the abundant mercies of God, which are grounded in the salvation found in Jesus Christ, Jesus’ disciples joyfully do their duty and give thanks to God for his abundant mercies to them.
Let’s read about dutiful servants in Luke 17:7-10:
7 “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’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ” (Luke 17:7-10)
The Gospel of Luke is the story of life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Luke has given us an incredible account of the life and ministry of Jesus.
In our study of Jesus’ life in The Gospel of Luke we are in the final few weeks of his life. Jesus was on his last journey to Jerusalem. The closer he got to Jerusalem and his crucifixion, the more he taught his disciples about important aspects regarding Christian discipleship. Jesus wanted his disciples to display to the world the characteristics of those who were members of his kingdom.
The context for today’s lesson is that Jesus had just warned his disciples regarding temptations to sin (Luke 17:1-3a). He warned them that grief would come to the one who tempts another to sin. He warned them of the terrible fate that awaits the one who causes another to stumble into sin. And he warned them to pay attention to themselves that they not lead anyone into sin.
Following these stern warnings, Jesus taught his disciples about forgiveness of sin (Luke 17:3b-4). They were to rebuke the sinner, forgive the repentant sinner, and forgive the repentant sinner repeatedly.
As a result, Jesus’ disciples asked him to increase their faith so that they would be able to forgive the repentant sinner repeatedly (Luke 17:5-6).
Jesus then wanted to be sure that his disciples did not think that if they were fully obedient to his commands that they somehow therefore merited special or divine favor. So, Jesus told his disciples the parable of a dutiful servant.
The analysis of the parable of a dutiful servant in Luke 17:7-10 teaches us about the ideal attitude that a disciple should have in serving God.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Required Action of a Dutiful Servant (17:7-9)
2. The Required Attitude by a Dutiful Servant (17:10)
I. The Required Action of a Dutiful Servant (17:7-9)
First, let’s look at the required action of a dutiful servant.
The required action of a dutiful servant is to serve his master day and night.
Jesus asked three rhetorical questions that are answered with a no, a yes, and a final no. Of course Jesus had the relationship of slaves and masters in the ancient world in mind when he asked his three rhetorical questions that show the required action of a dutiful servant.
The first question is in verse 7, “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’?”
The answer is of course no!
The second question is in verse 8, “Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’?”