So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ Lk 17:10
Jesus says this word to His disciples after telling a brief story about a servant. In the story Jesus talks about how anyone having a servant working in the field wouldn’t call them in to sit down and eat for themselves, but rather they would command them to make their food first, and then the servant could sit and eat. And so Jesus tells his disciples that when they have done all the things commanded by God, they shouldn’t think that they are some kind of hot shots, but should recognize that they are simply doing what they are commanded to do.
Most people understand this truth, but I don’t think we understand it in the context that Jesus placed it in. This story came immediately after the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. Jesus’ response was:
So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Lk 17:6
These passages in the bible should help us to understand God’s attitude toward our faith. It’s much different than the prevailing attitude in the church today. We seem to put people up on a pedestal who operate in faith. If we see someone work a miracle or cast out a devil, we think that they must be something special. We think that if we use our faith to uproot a mulberry tree and plant it in the sea, we must be something great! But Jesus says no, that’s just doing our duty. Miracle working faith should be the norm.
Stephen understood this principal. He didn’t assume that miracle working faith was for the apostles only, or for Jesus only. He wasn’t an apostle or an evangelist, or even a pastor. He was simply a deacon. But look what the bible says about him:
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Acts 6:8
Have you ever noticed what Jesus would say to those whom he sends out to minister:
“And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ Lk 10:9
And certainly that didn’t leave out other acts of faith, for the same disciples come back afterward reporting to Jesus what they had done:
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!” Lk 10:17
But Jesus answers:
do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Lk 10:20
The disciples get happy about casting out devils, but Jesus downplays it, knowing that it isn’t anything special – having your name written in heaven – that’s something to shout about!
Do you see how we are commanded to be great men and women of faith? I say ‘great’ because in the earth it seems great, but to heaven it is the norm.
So let’s aspire to be ‘normal’ in God’s eyes! When you are ‘normal’ in God’s eyes, people around you will think that you’re something great. But you’ll know better than that.