Reading: Luke 17: 5-10
In the opening verses of Luke 17, Jesus has just instructed the disciples to keep from sinning, to not lead others into sinning, and to always offer forgiveness to those who sin against them. Then Jesus adds a point of emphasis: forgive up to seven times in one day. Seven represents eternity for His audience. Jesus is saying to forgive over and over and over and over and… The disciples response to this idea is the opening line of today’s passage: “Increase our faith!”. In other words, if you are asking this of us Jesus, you better bump up our faith.
To this request Jesus offers a parable. The main character is a servant. Jesus often parallels being a disciple with being a servant. The servant-master relationship is obe that would have been very familiar and well-understood by His audience. A servant’s job is to serve the master. Of course the servant would come in from a long day’s work and still waiting upon the master until all their needs are met before retiring for the day. It is what servants do. They put their master’s needs ahead of their own. The servant doesn’t hang around on the periphery waiting for a nice ‘thank you’ either. It’s just their job.
Then Jesus extends the understanding and application of the parable to the disciples and to us. He says this too is how a disciple conducts themselves. As disciples we are called to be servants not only to our Master but to all people as well. We are called to serve others, to sacrifice for others, to set aside our own interests and wants for the needs of others. We are called to place others before self. In living out the Gospel, we are to simply love and serve all as Jesus loved and served all. Today and each day, may we pray for and strive to live out of a servant’s heart.