In this study of Luke 17: 5-10, we will learn that the Apostles’ request for increased faith depends on going beyond duty, going beyond the commandment. We discover that God is not backing off about our level of faith; rather, there is something we must do. As we approach this parable known as The Unprofitable Servants we understand that Jesus puts you in the dual role as both master and servant of the house. Of course, beyond this we are also thinking of God as the Master and us, the servants of His house.
1) Become undistracted by the commandment, as if that alone could justify you. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you can keep the commandments, do your duty, and now you’re alright. This only increases your unprofitability. Why? Because I am not relating attentively to our Lord since I do only my duty, and thereby pronounce myself righteous.
2) My whole approach is skewed. I’d be happy if the Mater said, ‘Sit right down here and eat; don’t have a thought about me. In fact, this is how it’s going to be from now on.’ And the whole time I’m thinking I deserve all this and more! But I must learn the priority: the Lord first, not my belly. I am the servant of God. Is there a higher position anywhere? Let’s rethink this duty-bound code we use to justify ourselves. Let’s say I borrowed the Lord’s car. If I as a driver say to God, ‘Well, I used your car today. Just wanted to let you know; honesty is important, I’m sure you know. I stopped at all the traffic lights, I didn’t hit any pedestrians, didn’t speed, did all my duties as a driver, your car’s in the driveway with the keys in it, and by the way, the oil light came on so you ought to put a quart in. Just letting you know, so thank me’, my approach is messed up to say the least. I am an unprofitable servant.
3) The way to becoming a profitable servant, the way to great faith – get caught up in ministering to him. Be attentive to him. Be his servant, and be his friend at the same time! If the Lord said to you, ‘Come right in from the field and sit down for dinner – I’m serving’ (that’s another message), you should say, ‘Not so, Lord. In fact, I don’t even deserve to be in this house. It is my delight to serve you. In fact, I’ve been thinking of what you might like for supper tonight and started marinating some steaks. I’ll just be a minute and will have some fresh radishes and potatoes from the garden. I’ve been working on mint tea in the cellar. I’ll be right back. Hope you like it. I thought after supper we could watch a movie together, maybe the Sound of Music, while you try some blueberry pie.’
Conclusion: the key to great faith is to be all distracted in waiting on God. Become the servant of God, but do that by being his friend! That’s what the Cross did – it made us friends with God. In Rom. 5:10 we read, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” To be reconciled means to be made friends again. Sneak up on God, do something totally out of your pattern, and shift your thinking about how you can minister to Him. Duty be blowed. Do you know who Jesus really is? If you figure that out, and your place, just maybe you’ll become obsessed with the extreme privilege before you.