Unprofitable Servant

December 7, 2016


Luke 17:7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Sometimes people will look at the various things I do and thank me.  Some a bit too profusely and that can get embarrassing.  Some are very easily impressed and others are never impressed.  Fortunately, though I appreciate praise like any other human, I do not let the lack of it keep me from doing what I can do.  Indeed, some places I have been I would have had to spin straw into gold or reverse time to make people young again to get any praise.  Even then it might be mixed with criticism as I may not have been only able to spin 18 caret gold instead of 24 carat and though I gave them back their 18 year old body I may not have been able to do plastic surgery to correct what they did not like about their young body.  Some crowds are very tough.  Still, I tried to do the best job I could do.

I had a manager at K-Mart where I worked right after college remark that he did not understand why I worked so hard compared to others.  I replied that if I only worked for K-Mart for the minimum wage I received I might also give minimum labor.  However, my real employer was God and I work for Him first and K-Mart benefits.

While I have had a diverse career in both secular and church arenas, I have not risen to greatness in anything.  I guess you could call me Mikey Mediocre.  My name will not be emblazoned on buildings or have an encyclopedia article.  Songs will not be written about me and it is unlikely I will be on Larry King’s show or Good Morning America or even the Late, Late, Late, Late Show.  My tombstone will not stand out in the VA cemetery.  Some say I am a good singer, but I will not be performing in Nashville or Branson.  I love preaching and teaching, but you will not see me on TV or in front of thousands because I am not that great of a preacher or teacher nor do I have the bodily presence or charisma many of them have.  I am just a straight leg trench trooper.

Yet, somewhere along the line, I may have blessed a few lives and maybe got them through a bad spot or two, but then again there have been periods in my life where I may not have helped people, but hindered or hurt them.  There may be more of those folks than the ones I helped.  Only God knows the numbers.  Yet, even if I helped a hundred times more people than I hurt I am still an unprofitable servant.

I am glad that I served my country in the military and federal service, but then it was my duty to do that so I have nothing to be super proud about and swell my chest.  If I ever did get to preach before thousands, it would be my duty as a Christian to do so, if God willed it.

Indeed, if I could fill sixteen hours a day, seven days a week in doing something or things that glorify God be it in some church ministry or community service it would still only be my duty to do so.  Indeed, there really is no such thing as above and beyond the call of duty when serving the Lord.  If there was much fruit from it, it would all be the work of God in my life, not me, that brought it about so where should the thanks and glory go?  God!

1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

I did not understand it when I was first saved  that I was now bought by God to serve Him for His glory.  I just knew my life was changed and I was loved so I lived my life for Him.  I witnessed every chance I got.  Things were changing and habits died.  I could not help myself.  I was driven by love and gratitude.  It was my duty to do so and I did not even understand that it was my duty because I was glad to serve.

I will not lie and say that my love and zeal has always been strong ever since 1975.  I have had some hard roads and hurts so that some of what I have done has been by sheer duty and at times habit.  My faith has wavered because I looked at people and circumstances seeing my own worth based on how they valued me figuring God must not value me much because they did not value me.  That made me think my service was not valuable robbing me of my joy in serving.  Still, I served hoping that one day I might actually do  something that would please God.  After all, it was my duty to do all I that I could do.

1Co 7:22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.
23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

It took awhile to finally be get to the point where while I like praise from men, the only real praise I need to seek is the praise of God.  I am not man’s servant.  I am His.  Yet, as the Master came to serve men and washed their feet so I am to serve others, just not by their standards.  Jesus did not please everyone and definitely not those with notoriety and influence.  They did all they could to stop Him and facilitated His crucifixion.   Indeed, the more He did the more they required of Him and yet they were not pleased and refused to believe.

Time passes, but the nature of man will not change until the new heaven and new earth.  The same types of people that were present in Jesus’ day are here today.  You may never please the ones who give earthly promotions and titles, but that is not your calling.  Your call is to serve Him in humility and His power.  It is He that called you and He that will give you what you need to serve Him where He wills.  Where and what may surprise you because it is not where and what you assumed or even desired.   The upside of that is you will be in His will and that will make it more joyful and fruitful for you and the Kingdom.

Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

If you really want to serve Him,  you do not need ordinations, PhDs or approval from some ecclesiastical hierarchy.  Even in my fairly small town of 30K, we have plenty of the people described by Jesus to whom we can minister.  Have an old serviceable coat or other clothing that you don’t really NEED?  Most of us have far more clothing than we need just taking up closet space.  Have a couple of hours to serve a meal to the homeless or low income folks?  There is a jail near you where you can go sing and teach/preach.  Nowadays, even our neighbors are strangers so there are plenty to reach out to and if nothing else invite to church since stats show that many people do not attend church because they have never been asked.  How sad is that?

Every Christian has at least one spiritual gift from the Lord and some have several.  Even if you have only one it was given to be used, not set on a shelf or buried like the lad with one talent in the parable of the talents.  You will never be happy until you use whatever gift(s) God gave you.  There is joy in SERVING Jesus, not pew warming.

Before you say, “But Brother Ron, you don’t know _______” let me remind you that pointing out perceived inadequacies did not work for Moses or Jeremiah so they will not work for you.  Indeed, they may be a help to you as you will be forced to rely on God rather than natural strength or abilities.   He may gift you with something that works around your introvert nature or whatever inadequacy you perceive or may actually have.  Then again, He may gift you and call you to something that will overcome the inadequacies or change you from introvert to extrovert or tone down your extrovert personality.  He knows no limits.

Mat 10:40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

If you have one gift, then use that gift.  It my only be giving a drink or putting up or feeding a traveling missionary or another brother or sister, but there is reward in those things.  If you have many gifts then you are to use them, but do not get the big head because like the one who has one gift and uses it you are only doing which is your duty to do.  So whether you are Mikey Mediocre or Marvin Marvelous you are still unprofitable servants.  That said, those who refuse to use their one gift/talent or many gifts are wicked and slothful servants.  I would rather be an unprofitable one than a wicked and slothful servant.  (Matt 25:26,27)

1Co 4:4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

Will I make everyone happy? No.  The question is more will I make the right people happy and the right people unhappy?  If I look to men for affirmation, I may feel good, but not necessarily make God happy.  Will most of my labor be wood, hay and stubble as opposed to gold, silver and precious stones?  I don’t know.  Something I thought was a jewel may be stubble and something I thought I really fouled up may be a ruby.   Like Paul, it does me no good to judge before the time as I do not have full perspective.  If I am strong when I am weak then some of my rough times may be where I was building with gold and some of what I and others saw as my best times may all be stubble.

All I can do is serve as it is my duty and pray that He has overcome my weaknesses and flaws to build something to His glory that will last for eternity withstanding the flame.  (1 Cor 3:11-15)  Whatever I can do, I must do as it is my duty and because I am grateful for all He has done for me.  In gratitude, there is joy in duty.  You lose the joy when you lose gratitude and your duty is just duty.  Be joyful in your service even if no one notices or you think it is a small thing and you are inadequate.   Even Paul said his sufficiency came from God and not himself.  You who have the great gifts remember that and stay humble.  Maranatha!

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