(Jesus said) "So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'" Luke 17:10
On January 9th, the family of George DeGrazio reported he was missing.
The police found his car in Fort Collins, Colorado. They began a search; they visited with businesses, restaurants, theaters. Again and again, they asked folks, "Have you seen this man?"
The answer was always, "No." The answer was "No" on January 9th, January 10th, January 11th, January 12th and January 13th. On January 14th the body of George DeGrazio was found.
He was found in a locked movie theater restroom. He was found there after workers noticed an odor and forced their way in.
The coroner found that George DeGrazio had five days earlier died of a heart attack in that bathroom. For five days the police had searched; for five days the family had worried. Both the search and the worry had been unnecessary.
When I shared this story with some of the folks at Lutheran Hour Ministries, they were shocked. When I asked if they felt anything beyond shock, almost to a person each of them said, "I guess that theater doesn't clean its bathrooms very often." Indeed, most of the folks seemed almost as upset by the dirty bathrooms -- as they were by the undiscovered body.
Jesus would have understood.
Jesus often got upset with people who didn't do their God-given jobs. He got upset with the Pharisees, who got busy with the inconsequential and forgot that which was important. Today He probably isn't too pleased with folks at a theater, who didn't follow up on a request by the police, who didn't check the theater before they locked the doors, and who didn't bother to clean a restroom.
You know, Jesus has the right to tell us to do our duty. He has the right because He is our Lord and because He has given us a perfect example of duty doing. Read the Gospels and you will see how Jesus always did what was expected of Him. Before He was ever born and long past His death on Calvary's cross, He has done that which was necessary to save us. He has given His time, His future, His strength, His life, so we might have salvation.
Now He asks us to do the same. At work, in our families, at our churches, we are to use the talents we have been given to show our appreciation to the Triune God. We are to do the best we can, so He might be glorified and a witness can be made to a lost and lonely world.
That way when He comes to judge the world, we will humbly and honestly be able to confess: "We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that I may -- in all circumstances and situations -- do what is right to thank and witness to You who have saved me. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
PS - The theater chain in our story has placed five people on administrative leave and is renewing its policy for the nightly closing of its theaters. Thought you might want to know.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries