Merely Servants


So with you when you have done all you have been told to do, say, ‘We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty. – Luke 17:10

In an age where the virtue of humility seems to be trumped by the desires and demands of the relativist ego, this passage from Luke’s Gospel often makes people uncomfortable. Some may even consider it unjust by the standards of political correctness.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we see in this passage the only way to true freedom. Indeed, we take joy in it. What is it that this Master, Jesus, tell his servants to do? We are told to love as loved us. How do we do this? We are told to forgive generously and honestly, we are told to treat all others with compassion, we are told to serve the real needs of the poor and disenfranchised among us, we are told to take up our crosses and to follow Him. He is not telling us to do anything more, or less than he did himself. The logic of this is obvious, even to the thoughtful sceptic. It does not take genius to see what the world looks like when ego, pride and selfishness are the guiding values of a society. Christians know that those very things were the cause of The Fall from Paradise. This passage reveals that the path back to Paradise is the path of humble obedience to Jesus’ commandment to “love one another, as I have loved you.”

In refusing the duties of love; forgiveness, compassion, service to the poor and disenfranchised among us, are we not, then, the cause of the world’s injustices, and our own self-destruction? Is this not a prescription for madness, rather than true freedom? On the other hand, when we willingly and freely obey these duties of love, which are the only “orders” we Christians receive from God, we, paradoxically, find all the things we most desire in this wounded world; true freedom and real happiness.

After all is said and done, we Christians know that we are not the Master. We also know that the Master does not ask us to do what is beyond us, or beneath us. We are not God’s chattel. We, therefore, do not serve from obligation or fear. We serve, rather, out of love. And that makes all the difference.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.