Luke 15:5-10 offers us one of the greatest challenges, I believe, in the Bible. And that challenge is to realize our real value to the kingdom of God.
Most of us feel that what we do is valuable and that our efforts around the church should be appreciated. Some of us have developed spirits of entitlement because what we have to offer or what we do around the church. However, in the light of this text, we may have to reconsider our approach to service, church work, or our work in the kingdom of God.
Jesus speaks this way about our work and duty: “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”
REALLY NOW!? When we’ve only done what we’ve been commanded to do, or what we perceive we can do, our response should be, ‘we are unprofitable servants.’ Wow!!
Profitability yielding advantageous returns or results is always outside of the scope of what is expected. It is beyond the margin set or the boundary of actual accumulated or realized worth. If only what has been expected is realized, there can be little acclaim regarding profit.
Jesus is teaching us to consider that doing only what is required doesn’t meet the challenge of profitability. Duty is what is expected of us. Beyond that is in the realm of profitability. And, He demonstrates that by His own life by not merely paying the penalty of our sins, but also gaining the victory for us over sin and death. And, in addition, He sends to us the Holy Spirit who ministers to us to make our journey and experience meaning and powerful until His return. And that doesn’t even account for the daily mercies, graces, blessings, companionship, and other things that He does to insure that we make it to the end.
Let’s set the bar higher for ourselves. Never again be satisfied with status quo behavior or service. No more doing enough to get by or basing one’s effort on who it is that is on the receiving end of our service. Do whatever it is that needs to be done, “. . . do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men . . .” (Colossians 3:23) Reach higher and beyond expectation to realize the impossible and the gain of being a profitable servant! Let us be meticulous in our service; perfectionist in our efforts; thorough in our approach; generous beyond capacity in our giving; wise in our insight; far-reaching in our scope of things; enduring in our work; and faithful in our attitude. Do all of this and more to be ‘profitable servants’ for the kingdom.