November 10, 2020
“…should be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance…be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good…showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech…live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age…” (Titus 2:1-8, 11-14)
When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’ (Luke 17:7-10)
Today’s readings from Titus and Luke give us a list of stern directives, followed by a reminder of our role. In my simple-minded summary, I hear, “Complete this list of duties, and don’t expect a parade in your honor when you’re done. Know that you do these things because it’s your job – it’s what you’re supposed to do.”
We don’t want to be unprofitable servants, do we? We want some profit – a kind word, a quick thank you, a little affirmation. Everyone deserves that, right? Is wanting that wrong?
No, wanting or appreciating a little affirmation here and there is not wrong. Depending on it is wrong. Needing it is wrong. Allowing it to drive our behavior is wrong.
It’s about humility. We do what God calls us to do because it is the right thing to do. As Christians, that’s what we signed up to do. Our motivation is pleasing God and gaining eternal life. When we need affirmation or recognition to motivate us, our focus turns in on us and away from God.