“We are Unprofitable Servants”
“When ye shall have done all these things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: We have done that which was OUR DUTY to do.”
The law of Christ goes contrary to modern sentiment on many points. Here is another instance. The modern temper attaches little weight to the consideration of “duty.” It inclines men to take great credit to themselves for well doing, and in its more generous form, to recognise it in others. No sooner does a man do anything fairly decent in this line, than his friends get up a testimonial or a complimentary dinner, or some other way of “doing honour one to another.”
Jesus discourages this tendency; and in this he is in accordance with the highest form of reason of which man is capable. Man, as a created being, owes it to God to obey His commandments. God has associated our highest well-being with it. God’s approval of the performances of our obligation, and the recompense He purposes, are all of His favour.
There is no claim on our part. We do our duty: we do not profit God in this. We cannot. “We are unprofitable servants,” in this sense. The profit is all on our side. Boastful sentiment is barbarous. Even complacency is offensive. Only the attitude of humility is reasonable.
If those who had “done ALL those things that are commanded” are acceptable only when they say, “We are unprofitable servants,” what is the position of those who do NOT “the things that are commanded?”This is the most pointed bearing of Christ’s injunction in this case. He illustrates it by the case of servants who do their duty. They are acceptable, but are not regarded as specially meritorious. But if they do not their duty, they are worse than useless. This is the position of the bulk of those who say they are “Christians”.
Bro Robert Roberts (“Nazareth Revisited”)