7 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing 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’?
Luke 17:7

Jesus begins an explanation of responsibility and reward by asking what is expected of servants. In the society most of us are familiar with, servants are no longer a common occurrence, so we must hear this story with first century Middle Eastern ears in order to understand. This is a problem we sometimes face with scripture, being distracted by the situation and missing the lesson.

Jesus asks how a servant returning from the field would be treated. Would the master ask the servant to sit down and eat with the family? Not likely – servants were expected to complete all tasks the master required before caring for themselves. While this may seem unfair or even cruel from the standpoint of our understanding, it was the reality of life in that society, and Jesus is using their understanding of that to make a point.

Jesus is telling us that we must be ready and willing to do everything for God before we do anything for ourselves. We owe Him our very existence and are called to show our gratitude through obedience. In contrast to the story of the servant serving a human master for the master’s good and comfort, when we serve God it is for our good, and the good of our brothers and sisters.

Gracious God, we are thankful that You call us to be a part of Your work in creation. Help us to be thankful, humble and productive servants of Your kingdom. Amen.

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