7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? 8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. 10 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.
This is called one of my really tangent thoughts — on unprofitable servants.
As the scripture says, people in the servant role expect to be recognized and rewarded — for just doing what is expected of them. Yet, the real thing is to consider yourself unprofitable for merely doing your duty, what is required.
The point of scripture is that we do what we do in service for God in appreciation for what he has done for us, that nothing we can do can ever be more than what he has done for us. We don’t earn anything by our service.
But we can flip this concept into the work-a-day regular world. We make our influence out of what we do, and the recognition that is shown to us, or that we show to others. We are willing to work harder on a project or in a group where our efforts, even the ordinary efforts, receive notice and appreciation.
The flip side of this is being in a place where nothing we can do is deemed extra or extraordinary. No matter what you do, no matter how far above the norm, everything you do is just a part of the job. When the extraordinary is deemed ordinary, what reason is there to do the extraordinary?
Now, there is a drastic difference between the first example, and the second. In God’s case, we are motivated from the love he has already shown us. We are aware that no matter what we do, there is no comparison, and thus we deem our duty, our service, as nothing special. Our attitude comes out of our gratitude This is the lesson that warns us against the pride and hypocrisy of the pharisees.
But in the second example, the people we are working for or with have none of that beneficence already shown to us. So we have a different motivation. And nothing is more demotivating than to discover that what you do, no matter how much you attempt to excel, it makes no difference. The result, the recognition (or lack thereof) will be the same.Nothing is better created to ensure mediocrity.
Too many people create “unprofitable servants” and then complain about them. They fail to recognize their part in the process.