Monday in the Twentieth Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 17:1-10

We Can Only Hope to Do Our Duty

Temptation.  It was temptation that brought us down in the Garden.  Adam and Eve were doing quite well, that is, until the tempter came along: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’”  And from that primal twisting of God’s word, Satan planted the doubt and even suspicion that the One who created them would dupe them.  And then the sin was committed.  Temptation is an awful thing.  We are all tempted in various ways.  Some even become addicted to their temptations.  The “Desert Fathers” of the early Church said that we can be sure that we shall be tempted until the day of our death.  So we must be ever vigilant, knowing our own weaknesses, and when the tempter is afoot (1 Peter 5:8-11).

Now we expect Satan to tempt us; he’s made it his primary task.  But the really terrible thing is when we do his job for him.  That’s what Jesus is talking about here: “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come.”  Woe to the one who becomes a “Satan” to someone else.  And we must sadly confess that there have been times when we have been just that.  We must be very careful to watch ourselves that we give no cause for someone else to stumble, especially a little one, or someone newborn in the faith.  We are to shepherd one another in the faith, not hinder, and certainly not lead into sin.  The consequence is quite dire.

But Jesus comes right back with the good news: there is forgiveness both for us and the one who sins against us.  Such requires an active faith; after all, some things really hurt.  But if we would only exercise as much faith as a grain of mustard seed, what amazing forgivers we could be.  Being a forgiver is a wonderful thing, both for the person we forgive, and for ourselves.  And being forgiven is more wonderful still.  Strive to be forgiving.

Jesus then shares the parable in which a servant comes in from working all day.  Does he rest?  No.  He must rise and serve his master dinner.  Now again, the meaning of the parable is not that anyone should be such a master.  Jesus tells us the meaning: “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.’”  Now, blessed be our God and Father that He is not such a master; indeed, He serves us every day with blessings innumerable, and much more than we could ever serve Him.  So it is true: We could never repay Him for all He has done for us, and at the end of the day, we have only done our duty – if that much.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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