A Servant Attitude

Luke 17: 7-10
Wis 2:23–3:9 / Ps 34
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 the Lord in all our ways,
Our hope in His Word our guiding light,
Divine reward by His loving grace.

“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)

Reflection

At first glance 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 can we grow in faith.

Twenty-five aging servant leaders of the Brotherhood converged last Friday morning up to Sunday afternoon in a mountain cottage for a spiritual workshop and retreat for senior leaders of BCBP Mindanao. There we witnessed the selfless efforts of three facilitators from Manila who successfully convinced us participants that we can still be productive laborers in the vineyard of the Lord; that our individual chapters can still benefit greatly from our shared experiences and the wisdom of our “golden years.” We also witnessed the warm hospitality of our hosts, a couple who gave their best in humbly serving their guests with sumptuous food and comfortable lodgings for two nights and three days. Likewise we were honored by the attendance of our incoming national president of the Brotherhood (whose skill in the guitar provided great music), as well as a past president who also inspired us with his experiences and insights on pastoral care, love and humble service. That week-end was truly blessed by the Lord for his chief servants who have been serving Him tirelessly for many years. We could only thank Him for His grace of molding us in our ministries.

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 manifestations of the grace of God at work in our lives. All that is required of us is to practice love for others.

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 ‘stripes’ a great privilege— for the greatest joy is the hope of spending eternal happiness with You in heaven for persevering in Your service. Amen.

Leave a Reply