Luke 17.10 commands when you have done everything you were told to do, you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’
Recognition is a powerful motivator for action. Lack of recognition is equally powerful for causing us to stop taking action.
From the child who thrusts their picture in our face so we will recognize their picture to the ‘mature’ adult who quits because they feel unappreciated; recognition is a powerful desire within our broken lives.
This need causes the adult to work incessantly to please the deceased parent who never recognized their ability and causes marriage to fail because one or both parties feel under appreciated.
This need in our lives reflects our Creator’s original design within us that we would receive our pleasure and value from Him to Whom we belong. When we turned away from God in disobedience we corrupted this need by focusing it upon one another but broken people can never adequately replace the void only God Himself can fill.
Knowing we have this need within us God calls us to humility and death to self by commanding we acknowledge our ‘good works’ as merely our duty to obey Him. Our need for recognition is really a flesh or self centered need that is now part of our broken condition.
Only the resurrection will remove this condition from our lives but denying ourselves by taking up our cross will help alleviate its pull on our lives today.
God believes He is God and we are His creation and therefore we have the duty and responsibility to honor and obey Him completely with our lives. The reality is our obedience is like the child who draws a pretty picture and runs to their parent for approval. We obey so little and so poorly that when we actually do what God wants in God’s way we are quick to look to Him for approval.
God is gracious, He is glad at our obedience. However, should we feel God is not gracious enough toward our hard work and begin to pout and complain He reminds us that obedience is really the floor of His expectation of us. God approves us like we approve our children’s drawing not because the drawing is so great but because we are His beloved children.
We should obey God, He is glad when we do but obedience doesn’t make us better than others just faithful children before others.