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The Parable of 
The Unworthy Servants

Luke 17:7-10  But who is there among you, having a servant plowing or keeping sheep, that will say, when he comes in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down at the table,’and will not rather tell him, ‘Prepare my supper, clothe yourself properly, and serve me, while I eat and drink. Afterward you shall eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded? I think not.  Even so you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants. We have done our duty.’" (web)

Discussion Questions

Give an example where you have taken other people's graciousness for granted,
Or perhaps where someone has taken your graciousnes for granted.
As slavery is no longer in effect, what would you use to illustrate Jesus' point today?
What misconception about the Christian's relationship with God is Jesus trying to clarify or correct here?
What motivates you to live the Christian life?
What if no reward were involved?


Although Christians have been promised rewards for their service, realize that God offers this not out of a sense of obligation as if we were his employees, but rather out of a sense of graciousness. It is true that in the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matt 20:1-6) that Jesus uses the illustration of hiring men to work in the field, but then again even in that parable his theme is that God is not obligated to pay in proportion to the amount of labor done, but rather says, "Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?" Again pointing to God's graciousness rather than his duty or obligation to pay for services rendered.

The relationship that the Christian has with God is not one of an employee, but of a slave. True, there are other aspects of our relationship with God, but they all include God's graciousness. God has graciously saved us through faith. He was not obligated to do so. He graciously rewards us, and not out of a sense of obligation.

Realize also that though that this parable is speaking of what the servant's attitude should be and not what God will actually do. For as we saw previously in the parable of the Faithful and Wise Servant (Luke 12:35-40), he says, "It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them." And as he reveals in this parable, such a behavior was out of the ordinary, being overly gracious.

The theme is therefore is to appeciate God's graciousness. And this is a common theme in the parables, such as the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matt 18:23-35) And to realize that we are not God's employee, but God's slave.


Suppose you had a slave working all day
And when he comes in, is this what you'd say,
"Come along now and sit down to eat"?
Would he rather not say, "Prepare me some meat,
Get yourself ready and wait on me
For you're my slave and not my employee.
After I've had enough to eat and drink
You can eat too and wash the dishes in the sink"
Would he thank the servant cause he did what he was told?
He certainly would not. (At least in days of old)
So when you've finished working, make this declaration:
"We are unworthy servants; we've only done our obligation."

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Aug 14,2020