It’s Just What You Do!: For the True Christ Follower, Service Requires No Recognition

Posted: April 12, 2015 in 42-Gospel of Luke

Luke 17:1-10 — Being a parent is often a thankless job. You get up in the middle of the night and rock them back to sleep. You feed them. You teach them. You change their dirty diapers. You clothe them. You provide for them. You raise them. They often do not truly understand what you have done for them until they older. They only really understand the sacrificial love that you have for them until they have children of their own. Although sometimes being a parent is a mighty struggle emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially, there are no medals that go with the job. It’s just what you are supposed to do for someone you love. We all get that! Sometimes, though, when the struggle is real, we just wish that we could get some recognition of the sacrifice. A pat on the back a time or two.

The greatest compliment a parent can receive is for their children later in life tell you that they now appreciate the sacrifices you made, the love that you showed them, the discipline that you showed them, and the guidance that you gave them. My daughters have done this for me many times since they reached adulthood. They are sweet like that. We have an amazing relationship now that they are adults. The most unexpected parental compliment that I have received though came from my former stepson, Josh, some four or five years after his mother and I split up. I was Josh’s stepdad for 9 years. He had an older brother and a younger brother. The three of them were boys through and through. I had to stay on top of them day after day after day. My authority with them was often undermined and limited by their mom. There were limits and yet at the same time her discipline of them was inconsistent at best. It was a mighty struggle trying to raise these boys and the three of them and I would butt heads constantly. I felt like all that I did was yell at them. It wasn’t til several years after the marriage broke up and I was at Josh’s maternal grandfather’s funeral that Josh cornered me and thanked me for being tough on him and his brothers. He had become a dad and now he knew why I was tough on them. He thanked me for all I tried to do. To say the least I was blown away. Sometimes, though, we do not get medals or even compliments for the jobs we do as parents. It’s just what you do. There is no expectation of reward. You just love your children into adulthood. It is what you do. Generation after generation we raise our kids. Virtually all of us will become parents. Raising kids to adulthood is just what you do. No medals. You just do it because of the love you have for your kids.

In the final three verses of this passage today (vv. 7-10), Jesus tells us that if we are expecting medals for our obedience to Him then we are in the game for the wrong reason. Obedience and service are just part of the deal. Does your employer thank you for doing your job each day. No. Our employer has an expectation that you are going to do your job and there is no pat on the back for doing what is expected of you. Jesus says obedience and service are by products of being submitted to our Father in heaven. These verses remind us that if we are at church to be seen. If we participate in service opportunities for recognition. If we desire to be a part of the pastor’s inner circle and are disappointed when we are not and leave a church over it. Then, we are at this Christ following thing for all the wrong reasons. If you are going to a particular church because it is the trendy new church, you are there for the wrong reasons. If you choose your church because it offers the best networking connections for your career, you are there for the wrong reasons. If you help your fellow man at the soup kitchen so that people can see you doing it, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. Jesus says true obedience is done out of the love that we have for Him. We do not serve Him to be seen. We serve Him because that is what we are supposed to do.

When we realize that we realize that we are sinners condemned to hell by our own actions and we fall to our knees and cry out to Jesus to save us from ourselves, we serve Him because of pure thanksgiving. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and proclaim on that salvation day that He is our Lord, we know full well what we deserve and yet He spares us, we serve him out of pure joy. It does not matter that we do not get our name mentioned from the pulpit or stage. It does not matter whether we get recognition or not. We serve our Lord and Savior by sharing His love shown us to others so that they might know Him. We do not serve Him to get merit badges. We do not serve Him to get our names in the bulletin or on the sign in front of the church. We serve Him because we love Him. We serve Him because He saved us. It’s just what you do. Are you serving the Lord to pad your resume? Are you serving the Lord so someone somewhere will recognize your hard work? Are you feeling like a martyr because you do so much and nobody recognizes it? Remember, we do not serve the Lord for personal glory. We serve the Lord to give Him glory. We serve to make His name famous not ours. We serve the Lord as a way to just say thank you to our Savior. It’s just what you do. We serve the Lord now so that one day you will hear the words from our Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” That will be the sweetest words ever. It will blow me away in an even greater way than my former stepson’s words.

Let us live our lives not for earthly pats on the back or earthly recognition but rather to simply humbly serve our Lord in whatever capacity we can out of thanksgiving for what He saved us from. It should simply be the overflow of what joy we have in our hearts as a result of salvation. We serve Him not because we have to but we serve in any way we can because we want to. It’s just what you do. Like being a parent requires a lot of unsung sacrifice and a lot of sweat and tears, we do it because that’s what you do as a parent. No cameras or lights. Just day to day loving your kids into adulthood. We are to humbly serve the Lord in the same way. No cameras. No lights. It’s just what you do when you love your Lord and Savior.

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