(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
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
At a parish meeting, the chairperson praised the council for planning and organizing a funeral service for one of the congregation's members.
I responded by quoting the text for today: "We are unworthy servants; we only did what was required of us."
Sometimes it is a good thing to give positive feedback to people for tasks well executed. Even so, care must be taken not to steal the glory that ought to be given to the Lord. If we take away the glory from God and give it to ourselves, then we have become self-centered and have transgressed the first tablet of the Ten Commandments, which explains our relationship with the Lord.
Elsewhere, Scripture tells us good works do not save us but are the fruits of our faith.
When we are called into faith by the Holy Spirit, we ought to see our neighbor in a different way. We certainly need to understand that we are serving God when we serve our neighbor. Jesus said we are to love God with all our heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves (see Mark 12:30-31).
It is human nature to expect to be rewarded for our efforts. It is human, but it's not Christian. We dare not think we can work for our salvation or boast about our efforts. In everything we do the Name of the Lord should be exalted.
Believers do right in remembering that we cannot bargain with God.
The servant in our text got it right because the prophet Isaiah teaches us that "all our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (see Isaiah 64:6).
We all know that we deserve the wrath of God and we also know we do not deserve the grace of God. But God, because of the sacrifice of His Son, declines to count our sins against us. For this great act of faithfulness, for new mercies which come every day, we can only humble ourselves in thanksgiving before the Lord.
As the psalmist says, "Not to us Lord, not to us Lord but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness" (Psalm 115:1).
THE PRAYER: Merciful Father, we give You honor and praise for Your faithfulness. We deserve Your wrath, but out of Your goodness and because of the sacrifice of Your Son, You spare us and shower us with Your grace. For this, we are truly thankful. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Sizakele Lugojolo who is director of the Lutheran Hour Ministries' Center in South Africa. Mr. Lugojolo is a lifelong member of the Lutheran Church in South Africa (LCSA). He was the first student who was allowed to attend the LCSA seminary while holding down a full-time job in business. This labor of love for his Lord took him eight years to complete. The Lord has blessed Mr. Lugojolo and his wife with a young daughter.
In South Africa, a country of nearly 55 million people, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Africa is known as The Lutheran Hour. Established in Johannesburg in 1961, this ministry center uses emerging technologies in its innovative social media and text-message ministries. It also uses LHM's Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) and Equipping the Saints (ETS) to build up and strengthen Christians in their faith. Areas of ministry specialization include work in prisons where LHM staff and volunteers regularly visit inmates to share the Gospel. Dramatic presentations are used to engage people with the Good News of Jesus Christ as well. Placing ads in newspapers -- which invite people to call for counseling, topical booklets, or prayer -- has been an effective outreach strategy in establishing relationships and directing people to find the spiritual and material help they need.
To see some of what's been going on in South Africa, you can check out its blog by clicking here.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhm.org/international.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries