The Unworthy Slaves

By: Alan Harvey

Posted: February 16, 2018

Category: Daily Devotional

Luke 17:7-10

There is a saying that God does not ask any more of us than what God has equipped us to do. That saying seems to be an appropriate one for interpreting this parable.

Jesus asks, “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, Come here at once and take your place at the table.” Showing concern for our slave and treating him humanely, we would expect to refresh him with food and drink after a day’s work.

Then Jesus asks, “Would you not rather say to him, Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink?” The master should dine first and then the slaves (servants). The slave is still the slave and the master is still the master. It is right that the slave should serve the master. If you were regular viewers of Downton Abbey you will recall that the staff ate at different times from the Crawleys whom they served. According to the social hierarchy that is the way things are.

Then Jesus asks, “Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?”Common courtesy tells us “yes.” Jesus continues, “So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done.’” One commentator reminds us that “obedience to God is a duty to be fulfilled and not an occasion for reward.”

God gave the Israelites the commandments for ordering their lives. Their obedience to them was doing what they ought to have done in response to what God had already done for them, namely; delivering them from their bondage in Egypt. In keeping God’s commandments, we do what God has asked us to do. It is a duty! Even though we may find it difficult, we are reminded that God’s grace will be sufficient for us,


Dear God, forgive us when we think You ask too much of us. Remind us that You do not ask more of us than You equip us to do. Help us hold fast to your promise that Your grace will be sufficient for all of our needs. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.