If you’ve ever watched some of those dog shows on TV, you can see those dogs do some amazing tricks. Their trainers take them through complicated maneuvers. If you don’t do that kind of training you may look at the tricks and think to yourself, “My dog can sit up, and beg, and roll over, and play dead.” If you look carefully, though, you will also see that the trainers are rewarding those dogs for practically every trick. The dog’s mouth goes to the trainer’s hand as the trainer passes a treat to the dog for a job well done.
Christians seem to thrive on the blessings of God the same way. We do something that we know God wants and we wait for the blessing to come. When the blessing comes, then we do the next thing we’re supposed to do. The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. Jesus told the story of a servant. In this example that any of his hearers would have known to be ludicrous, Jesus describes a master who recognizes his servant’s work by telling him to sit down and eat while the master serves him. After that, Jesus reminds the disciples that the servant would be the one taking care of the master. Then He described the attitude that the servants should have; the attitude we need to have to show our increased faith: “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)
That statement flies in the face of the “God’s gonna bless you real good” style of Christianity. In truth, we don’t like to think of ourselves as servants when we think about our relationship with God. We are the masters in this world. We are sons and daughters of the King, so, since we are royalty, others should listen and bow down before us. Do you see that attitude in some of the Christians you know or have heard about? Oh, they may not use the words, but their actions speak volumes. To these people, and to you, and to me, Jesus reminds us that we are servants of the King. We have been called to do a job for Him and we must do it not for the rewards or the blessings, but for the sake of obedience to Him. Do you want to see your faith increased? Serve our God not for the rewards, but for the sake of the service.
We know that God will ultimately reward us for our service. Let’s not ignore that fact. I wonder how much more of a reward we can get than our relationship with Him? He has forgiven our sins through His grace. Feel free to tell me what greater reward there is than that! Sometimes we see people claiming great financial wealth as a reward for their faithfulness – wealth provided by other followers of Christ who sacrifice to send money. To paraphrase Jesus, I tell you that they have their reward. If all you want out of this world, and your relationship with Christ is financial reward, you can probably make that happen. The disciples wanted their faith increased. When Jesus responded His message was to do your duty without expectation of reward. God has called each of us to service. We must do our duty for the joy of serving God.
Lord, remind me that faith is not a transaction. Keep me from expecting great blessings because I do what I am told to do. Remind me that nothing could be greater than the blessing of my relationship with You. Let me show the same grace to others.