“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.’”
We Have Only Done Our Duty
A firefighter runs out of a burning building carrying a little dog. He hands that dog to its owner. The owner cries with joy and says to the firefighter, “Thank you so much for going back in to save my dog. You’re a hero!” The firefighter simply says, “You’re welcome, ma’am. But no thanks is necessary. I have only done my duty.”
A story like that would have a strange twist if that firefighter had said, “Alright ma’am, I got your dog out, but if you want little Fluffy back, I’ll be expecting a reward!” No firefighter would say that. Their job is to protect people, their pets, and their property from fire. A firefighter doesn’t expect a reward for correctly doing their job.
When we perform a good work prompted by faith in Jesus, we don’t say to God, “All right God, did you see that nice thing I did for my spouse? I’ll be needing some kind of reward now for making that little sacrifice.”
A Christian’s loving actions aren’t prompted by getting things in return for their service. A Christian’s acts of love are simply part of being a follower of Jesus. A Christian does not look for any special praise or commendation in return for a loving action. When being thanked for an act of love, a Christian can say the same thing as that firefighter. “I have only done my duty.”
Faith delights in duty because faith grasps what Jesus has already done for me. So, when I do the things that God has commanded me to do, I can say, “I have only done what my Savior has already done for me one million times over. I delight to serve him. What an amazing duty I get to carry out, being like Christ to others.”
Dear loving Lord, you have saved and served me not because it was your duty but because you loved me. Let me love and serve others as you have loved and served me. Amen.