God Doesn’t Owe Us Anything: A Short Reflection

I  actually wanted to post about the Gospel readings for Nov 11 the day of, but I never got around to it. Thank God for a universal Gospel, right?

The reading was from Luke 17, and goes as follows:

Jesus said to the Apostles:
“Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him,‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

I love the allegorical nature of our Savior’s teachings. In comparing his disciples with the servant, Christ is reminding us that all we do for God is out of obligation and Christian duty. Like the master to the servant, God doesn’t owe us anything, and we should never expect to profit from our salvation (sans the whole dying and going to Heaven part).

Unfortunately, many people are more concerned with what they can “get” out of following Christ than what they should be giving, and not just with material things.

Yes, there are the Osteen’s of the world who tell you that if you surrender yourself to Christ, He’s going to shower your with money, cars, friends, and good fortune, and while there are those out there who are duped by the infamous prosperity gospel, I think a lot of us expect something on a more spiritual or emotional level.

We think that if we make it to Mass, participate at all the right moments, and receive the Eucharist, we’ll be granted insight, knowledge, healing, special protection, or, as it is so often these days, for God to look past our unrepentant hearts and turn a blind eye to our sins.

But that misses the whole point of being a Christian.

We fulfill our obligation to God out of love for the Father. We do it out of thankfulness that he gave His Son so we could one day enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. We sacrfice our own human desires for the will of God. Salvation is not tit for tat. It’s not a quid pro quo. It’s not a transaction.

When Christ commanded us to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, he didn’t promise us a reward or a pat on the back. When he commanded us to turn from sin, he didn’t add that doing so would make life easier for us. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Christ just said “do,” and we follow because as His disciples, it’s our job.

Our only reward is the joy of doing the Lord’s work, and what more could we possibly need?

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