Unprofitable Servants

I read the book of Luke back in December. And I’m still clinging to one verse. I say it to myself almost every day. I think it’s going to be my verse for the year.

Jesus’ disciples have just said to him, “Increase our faith.” And He starts by telling them that faith the size of a mustard seed can uproot a mulberry tree and plant it in the sea.

Then He goes on with a little story about a servant who works all day in the fields, comes in, and still has to prepare and serve supper to his master before he can eat himself. And does the servant receive any thanks? No. He’s just doing his job, and why should he get thanked for doing what was his to do? 

Then Jesus says:

“So likewise you, when you  have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'”

-Luke 17:10 NKJV

I find enormous comfort in those words.

I don’t have to do anything grand and wonderful. I don’t need a spotlight. I don’t have to be the smartest, or best, or most magnificent anything.

Every day, I just get up and do the things that I am commanded.

  • Servanthood takes the pressure off. I don’t have to call the shots or plot great strategies. I just have to listen to what part I play in the plans.
  • I’m not responsible for how things turn out. If I do what I’m told, the outcome’s not my fault. The result of my dutiful performance is His business.
  • If I do the things I’m commanded, I don’t have to worry if I’m doing enough or not doing enough–just follow the instructions. There’s a sweet accomplishment and rest when I can simply do my duty.
  • If my Master commands me to do something, He will also equip me to do it. I don’t have to worry about whether I’m “able” to do something. I have His resources at my disposal.
  • And of course I’m unprofitable. Jesus spent His own blood to redeem me. No amount of service could ever in a million billion years repay what He spent, let alone more. So I don’t have to try.

Yes, I believe God sometimes gives us “large” things as part of our duty. But what’s big for me might not even look big to you. And that’s fine. It’s not about us.

It’s about getting the King’s work done.

When I love my family and friends (or strangers), when I wash the dishes, when I write another scene for a story, when I volunteer as a “gopher” at church, when I take vitamins to keep my body in good order, when I give my best effort at choir practice, when I read my Bible, when I pray for a friend’s prayer request on Facebook, do I get thanked? Of course not. Why should I?

But even so, these little things matter.

The English Standard Version, which I’m reading this year for the first time, calls us “unworthy servants” in Luke 17:10.

Which is another beautifully accurate descriptor. How in the world could we be worthy to serve the King of Kings?

We’re not.

But He is worthy. Of our service, our praise, our adoration. Of our love.

And this Master of ours, who is worthy of all glory, became a servant Himself.

The night before Jesus was crucified, He washed His disciples’ feet. Then He said,

“You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.

-John 13:13-16 NKJV

Our Lord both lived and died on behalf of His servants. Why should not we be willing to go as far?

Is there not joy in following the footsteps of our glorious, humble Master?

And what does all this talk about unprofitable servitude have to do with faith anyway?

Well, if you’re a servant with a good master, you can trust him to take care of you, to give good orders, to provide what’s necessary for carrying out your tasks successfully.

In other words, if we’ll quit looking at ourselves and look at our Master, our faith cannot help but grow.

Because He is worthy.

-Miss Darcy

Sold Out

I think I’m going to ramble today. I have a lot to catch up on. Like why I haven’t written a post in nearly two months.

Long story.

Remember when I wrote about moving last summer? (Wow. Hard to believe that was at the end of August.)

We didn’t move. Turned out that job wasn’t a good fit for Daddy, so he resigned after four weeks.

We still knew it was unlikely Dad would get a job here in Huntsville. The town has changed since we lived here several years ago. So we didn’t unpack.

Which turned out to be a wise decision. Dad got a new job, this time on the south side of Nashville, Tennessee. That was November. We finally got our house on the market December 22nd. We had a contract on the 31st.

So now, finally, we’re set to move. The house closes the last day of January. We’ve picked out a new-to-us house in Tennessee. I’m surrounded by boxes and things that need to go in boxes as I write.

That’s the “Reader’s Digest Condensed Version.” Here’s the inside story.

When Dad quit that first job in Tennessee, we had half the house packed. My mind was totally geared for a move.

Then our takeoff was aborted. After we were about fifty feet in the air. The difficulty of the mental shift kinda surprised me. Yesterday we were moving, today we’re not. Okay. Wow. Readjust. We can do this.

While we waited to see what God would do next, I felt like life was sort of on hold. A lot of my things were packed. Furniture was in storage. I don’t want to sound melodramatic. It just felt weird.

Then Daddy got the new job. He was away all week; came home on the weekends. We were trying to ready the house for the market. We had to paint over our beautiful colors with a fashionable, dull, soft gray.

Christmas felt strange with our house only partly decorated and Daddy gone in the weeks before the actual day. I didn’t even blog about the Christmas carols I wanted to share.

It was one of those waiting seasons, ya know? A test, so to speak. And I flunked it.

Somewhere along the line, I let my daily Bible reading slip. I still read almost every day, but not with the same focus, the same investment, as usual. And I noticed the problem, but couldn’t find the motivation to change it.

I quit praying much.

Confession: I still don’t have this prayer thing down. Far from it. You may have noticed I write about reading and studying the Bible on here, but not so much about prayer. That’s because I wouldn’t know what I was talking about. That is, I know how to do it. I just don’t have the confidence that comes from experience. I’ve had spells of consistency, but somehow I don’t make time for it regularly. Problem? Yes. Ouch.

I tried to have joy in the Lord, and I did. I tried to be cheerful, and I was. I wasn’t totally miserable. I just wasn’t flourishing.

And by now, I should know better. Been a Christian for sixteen years. Should have the fundamentals ingrained so I can focus on achieving new heights.

Why do I have to walk the same roads I’ve walked a dozen times before? Fight the same fights? How do I get cold toward Jesus? He died for me!

This morning I was on my knees repenting of half-hearted devotion to Jesus. I’m pretty sure I did that sometime last year. And the year before that. Probably the year before that. It’s getting tiresome, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing it again sometime. Ach!

I know part of my problem now is stress. I’m in a coping mode, and things aren’t going to be so vibrant in that case.

Part of the problem is I wrote hardly anything throughout December. That was caused by the stress, but it became a vicious circle because writing is good for my mental health. And I wasn’t making time for it.

Part of the problem is my health. I haven’t cared for my body–way too much sugar, not enough exercise. With my family’s history, I shouldn’t be playing games.

But I fear part of the problem is laziness. (I can’t believe I just said that.) Guess I never outgrew my childhood besetting sin.

Probably, this is more than you cared to know. I’m not real fond of spill-your-guts blog posts because they tend to sound depressing. Sometimes I feel like, in the name of honesty, we share too much. Too much of us, not enough of Jesus.

But I am trying to be honest. They say it’s good for you. And I don’t indulge much, so I hope you’ll forgive me.

Around the beginning of the year, friends were talking about a word for the year. Something inspiring or convicting. Something either you feel is right to choose, or even something God specifically gives you. I’ve never done that.

But this year I have a phrase. Can’t say God spoke to me audibly, but it fits what I’m going through right now.

Sold Out.

Sold out to Jesus, of course. Not to this world’s pleasures. Not to life’s trials. Not to my own whims. But to Jesus.

Do I know exactly what that looks like? Obviously not completely. But I reckon Jesus can show me if I’m willing to take the instruction. Am I scared? Yes, actually, although it’s silly because the best life possible is one surrendered to its Creator. I want to keep my eyes on the eternal Prize.

The New Year is a good time to try again at something you’ve failed before. Thank the Lord His grace is sufficient, and that He perfects His strength in our weakness. I’ve got plenty of weakness.

And I don’t want to end on a depressing note. Because I believe with all my heart that we can have victory in Jesus Christ. I’ve seen it in others, and I’ve experienced it myself.

I want to find it again. And I will, not because of my own striving, but because Jesus is faithful.

I think I’ll be praying for a lot of grace and strength this year. 🙂

-Miss Darcy