Luke 17:7-10 “When you have done all you have been commanded to do, say, ‘We are useless servants. We have done no more than our duty.’”
Out of context, these words from St. Luke can seem harsh. Placed in the proper biblical context, the servant in the parable is in a full-time relationship with the master. The servant lives in the master’s house, and the relationship is not contractual, on a daily or hourly basis.
Full-time availability, humility and a healthy sense of duty springing from gratitude are emphasized.
When the parable is understood in terms of a personal full-time relationship with Jesus as the Creator and Master of this world that is our house, a sense of gratefulness can flow in our hearts. To experience relating with Jesus as Master frees us from task orientations that bind us. Instead of a taskmaster God, Jesus as Creator and Master gives all creation as a gift to us. And, when we daily taste the beauty of God’s magnanimity in Jesus, our duty to serve as creatures who receive life and breath and everything is a natural response.
Questions that spring from an individualistic self-assertion of rights or a sense of personal entitlements become moot questions. In this unequal relationship between Jesus and us the questions that naturally surface are: How can I be more available to serve my neighbor who is as valuable as I am? How can I enjoy and preserve this good world for others? How can I more fully thank you, Jesus, my Master?
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