As we continue through Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is talking about the subject of obedience. Many Christians want to hear Christ say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” But do we really know what kind of obedience Jesus looks for in a servant? Listen to what He tells His disciples.
“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?”
Luke 17:7-9 NIV
Christ shows us a servant, working in the fields. He comes home tired and hungry. Just as he sits down to eat with his family, he hears the master arrive.
Does he have the luxury of finishing his meal first? Of course not. He must immediately get up and tend to the needs of his master. That’s the life of a servant.
After he has served, he can go back to his meal. After all he did, does he now expect a bonus? No, he’s only done what’s normally expected of a person in his position.
God expects more from us than we expect from ourselves. In the passage above, the Lord goes on to ask a very fearful question. As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I tremble at the implications.
“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 NIV
That’s a very deep question. Should you, as a servant, do as you’re told and then expect to be thanked? The word thanked means to be blessed, tipped or given a special reward. Actually, a servant is supposed to do what he or she is told.
If all we do in our ministry is what’s expected or normal for our kind of ministry, then we’re not operating in the excellent. As a matter of fact, Jesus calls us unworthy servants, meaning unprofitable.
There are always things that we must do or that we’re expected to do. The word unworthy is derived from a Greek word that means, not ought.
The thought is that you are not what you ought to be. To break into the realm of the excellent you must break through the “musts” and enter into the “oughts.”
Those who are not only doing what they have to do, but have found a way to do what they ought to do, are considered to be walking in excellence. When a person goes beyond the expected in his or her walk with the Lord we marvel at their spirit of excellence.
What does that mean to me? I must stop saying, “I ought to have…”, “I ought to do…”, or “I ought to be…” then with the next breath say, “But I have so much I need to do; I can’t.” When you develop the spirit of excellence, the Holy Spirit is now free to work in you to accomplish what wasn’t expected.
As excellence starts its work in you, you can tap into God’s excellent power, His excellent grace, and His excellent love. You’ll find out that God has all the resources you need to fulfill the call to excellence that He’s placed inside of you. That will bring glory to His name.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
II Corinthians 4:7
The word all-surpassing is the Greek word hyperballo – excellent. This excellent power does not come from our own strength. Don’t ever take the credit for the excellence in your ministry. The glory belongs to God.
Walking in the spirit of excellence is one of the earmarks of the power of God in your life, showing that you hear from God and are obeying His voice.
Question: What are some of the marks of God’s excellence in your life and ministry?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi