Thursday, January 24, 2019
Luke 17:10 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.’”
Observing a person who is filled with grace is a difficult task because such a person lives their life in a purposefully unobservable way. The more of the Divine Influence that exists in a person’s heart the less attention they draw to themselves.
Jesus illustrated this to His disciples in Luke 17 when he spoke of the relationship between a servant and his master. The servant comes in from a hard day of work in the fields and is expected, as a part of his job description, to prepare supper for the master and serve him. When those tasks are all completed, Jesus asks the disciples this question: Would the master at this point expect that the Divine Influence upon the servant’s heart would require recognition for what he did? Then let that also be true of you. When you have done everything I have asked you to do, do not expect special attention or reward.
The word thank in verse 9 is the word for grace that we are studying. Jesus teaches clearly in this story that a true servant who is under the divine influence of grace requires no recognition. His activity for God is the loving response of a grateful heart to the indescribable gift of his salvation. Each deed has an impact on others, yet the source of the impact is obscured so that God receives the glory.
In 2006, because of the growth of our church, we moved all of our offices to a new location. As I unpacked books, I opened a box that had been in storage for years. They were given to me by my father. Some of those books belonged to my grandfather. Way down in one of the boxes were two handwritten journals from 1920 that are my grandfather’s observations of nature and the spiritual lessons he drew from those observations. One of them applies to today’s teaching. It is entitled The Silent Power of Influence.
As he stood near the shores of the harbor in New York City my grandfather wrote the following:
Waves are set in motion by some unknown vessel far out on the ocean. Even on a perfectly quiet day these waves will break in on the shore long after the ship has passed. So our lives. We are to do good without men knowing about it. Matthew 6:1-4 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Let’s carry that illustration a little farther. When a large ship passes near to the shore, the impact of the waves is no greater than when a large ship passes far from shore. The only difference is the focus of the person observing the waves. When the ship is nearby, the focus is on the ship. When the ship is unseen, the focus is on the splendor of the waves.
So should be our lives. Under the Divine Influence of grace, we can have the same impact on others while we are unseen as we can while we are seen. The difference is that when we minimize our visibility, the focus of the recipient will be on God and not us.
Being filled with grace means requiring no recognition. May Christ only be seen in us, and to Him be all the glory.