The Dutiful Servant

Luke 17: 7-10
Wis 2:23—3:9 / Ps 34

So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.
(Luke 17:10)

Help me Jesus to be effective
In serving You in all of my days;
Obedient to every directive,
To be worthy of Your love and grace.

“Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ” (Luke 17:7-10)


In His parable of the dutiful servant, Jesus seems to be saying that if you who are human masters can expect such dedicated service from your servant (or slave), shouldn’t you also render your utmost to your Creator, Who owns not only your body and mind, but even your soul? We are actually worth nothing to Him, and nothing we do can ever add to His glory.

All the saints and martyrs in Christendom lived their lives with only one motivation: to serve God and His Church faithfully, and spread the Gospel dutifully without any conditions. They all worked like slaves. Most, if not all of them influenced thousands, and even millions to become believers of Jesus Christ. In their work, they gave up everything, even their lives for the glory of God’s kingdom. And yet they never expected to receive any compensation in this life, because their hope was in their eternal reward in heaven.

Jesus may well be speaking about His saints, the greatest men and women in His church when He told His audience this lesson about the role of a servant. In fact, in all the years of His ministry, He Himself showed His disciples whereof He spoke until the very end of His life. He was the first servant prophesied by Isaiah: “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight; I shall place my spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the gentiles” (Isa.42:1-4).

We have enough models in Jesus and His saints and martyrs in order to approximate what is expected of us. Although we do not have to live the kind of lives that they offered to God, their lives can serve as inspiration for us to embrace the ideal of true Christian service. When we reflect on their lives, let us ask ourselves: How much dedication have I given to the spiritual aspect of my life? How often do I set aside time for prayer and receiving the sacraments? How much time do I spend reading Holy Scriptures so that I may come to know my Lord Jesus more, and be inspired and motivated by the Word of God? How much love and mercy have I shown to the needy, especially the victims of natural disasters (in Tacloban, Samar, etc.) to show my gratitude to God for all His blessings in my life? In what ways have I been a committed servant of God? Reflecting on today’s Gospel, it has made me realize that we are not just servants, but actually slaves of God, simply because He owns us. And yet, Jesus said, “I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father” (John 15:15).

Lord, make me an effective servant of Your Church by spreading Your Good News to others; by being upright in all my dealings; by standing up for honesty and integrity; and by giving help where and when it is needed. Through the example of Your Beloved Son, and through the help of the Holy Spirit, may I be Your worthy servant. Amen.

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