Sharing in His Pains

Luke 17: 7-10
Wis 2:23–3:9 / Ps 34:2-3,16-19

We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.
(Luke 17:10)

For the gift of life it’s only right
That we serve GOD with all our might;
Our hope in His Word our guiding light,
To guide us in the darkest night.

“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’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will 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)


At first it would seem that our Lord Jesus aimed this parable at the Pharisees and the high priests, who were proud and feeling righteous in their rigid observance of Judaic laws and practices. However, when taken in the context of the foregoing verses, this parable is actually a continuation of Jesus’ response to His apostles who asked Him to increase their faith (Lk.17:5). It is only by admitting our unworthiness, and humbly acknowledging God’s power over all our works that we can we grow in faith.

As St. Paul said, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph.2:8-10) It is important to keep this in mind, so that we do not fall into the same pit as the Pharisees in Jesus’ time, who thought that their faithful tithing and observance of rituals were enough to gain salvation, if not divine merits. None of our works of mercy, religious devotions, or witnessing to others can be means of attaining grace; instead they are simply manifestations of the grace of God already at work in our lives. That is why we serve the Lord with gladness. He is our Great King, and we are merely His humble servants, doing what we are expected to do.

Before life in the renewal, it had always been a quid-pro-quo arrangement with God. If I was a good and faithful servant, He would take care of all my needs. But later on, trials would come, and it seemed as if the more I served the Lord, the more He allowed me to share in the pains He suffered here on earth. Physical discomforts and pains came one after the other. But as St.Paul said in one of his writings, consider your ‘stripes’ a great privilege—for the greatest joy will be our recompense. Because no matter what we undergo, or how great our persecutions may be, we can never approximate the good that He does for us, plus the glory that awaits us in heaven.

Lord Jesus, sometimes, we feel that the more we serve You, the more You allow us to share in Your pains and labors while You were here on earth. We consider our aches and pains a great privilege— for the greatest joy awaits us– the hope of spending eternal happiness with You in heaven for persevering in Your service. Amen.

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