“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” Luke 17:10
Sometimes people think that when they do certain things, the world around them owes them something. There are many who portray themselves as humanitarians, who would not do great deeds unless they were profusely thanked or honored in some public way. Some of the food given to those in need, and some of the financial help offered, came from hearts not necessarily concerned for the recipients, but for their own egos. When this attitude is present, it is not quarantined in one area of the life, but it infects the whole. Those infected by this disease of pride and self-serving, bring the same into their spiritual lives. When they have done, at least on the surface, what the Lord has commanded, they expect a reward from Him as well. They do not understand that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (Romans 3:28).
The Lord has given us very specific standards by which to model our lives. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14. When we love Him, He says that we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). This means not only that our love response to Him will be obedience, but He also promises us that His love in us will enable us to please Him. When the Lord’s love infiltrates our thinking, we begin to understand that being obedient is the absolute least we can do. His love is so overwhelming and pervasive, that all we want to do is please Him. The realization is that we do not deserve anything in return. We know that our very best efforts do not make us worthy. Paul said it this way: “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:27, 28.
When we love the Lord with everything that we are, we do not believe that we are deserving of anything from Him because of our hard work. It is a blessing to the faithful, just to be called by His name. One day we will receive our eternal reward, but it will not be because we are worthy. It will be because Jesus is worthy and His grace is sufficient for us.