Savior of the Useless

It's fascinating today how impressed we are with ourselves!

We really think we're great.  Perhaps it's more insecurity than anything else that makes us look for more and more ways to tell people about ourselves or extend special titles to ourselves.  It's as prevalent in the church as it is outside.  Yet, Jesus was very clear in Luke 17 that we shouldn't make a big deal about just being obedient to Him--there is no special prize for doing what we're already supposed to be doing!

He says (Luke 17 NAS):

7“Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? 8“But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? 9“He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10“So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’”

The translators were generous with the word "unworthy."  A quick word study shows that the word in Greek is "un" which means "not" and "worthy" which is probably better translated "useful."  Ha!  For all of our love of self, we are not that impressive.  "Useless" is then followed by the non-glamorous word "slave" which some have translated "servant" in order to make it sound a little nicer.

This is not one of the feel-good passages of the New Testament.  This is Jesus being in-your-face honest about your obedience.  He had just told the disciples that if they would have had more faith that the impossible would be possible.

One of the most horrifying things that Jesus said in Matthew 25 is that the "useless slave" should be cast out.  It's obvious that He is using the terms in a different way than in Luke 17 and contrasting the "useless slave" of this passage [Mt. 25] with the "good and faithful slave."  While it should be our aim to be a "good and faithful slave" of Jesus, it probably should be noted that the way to get there is by the path of humility remembering that the "gold" of Matthew 25 belongs to God.  It's not ours. The "good and faithful slave" knows his utter uselessness and doesn't spend his or her time telling everyone what a great "servant" they are or extending special titles to one another!

The path of humility was paved by the suffering and blood of our King Jesus.  Walking hand in hand with our "useless" brothers and sisters in Christ motivates us as we are "2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb 12 NAS)  Our focus is Christ, our destination is His presence, and our future is filled with His overwhelming goodness toward us expressed in His amazing love.  The fact that God embraces my uselessness and inability and accepts me is overwhelming.

What a wonderful Savior we have.


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