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How a Servant Thinks

True servanthood stems from the crucified life, which seeks to give, not receive.


Today I want to talk about how a servant thinks. Let's read Luke 17:5-10:

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
"Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and recline at table'? Will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink'? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 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.'"

We don't typically hear a lot of sermons being preached on this text. To be honest, I don't like this passage of Scripture. There are days Jesus blesses me, and there are days Jesus bothers me. This is one of those texts that bothers me. It offends my Western, twenty-first-century sensibilities. It is a story of position and power. The master exploits another human being, his servant, for personal gain. The servant has been out in the field all day plowing. He is tired and hungry. But the master does not say, "Why don't you sit down, rest for an hour, and have something to eat. Then you can prepare my meal." He doesn't say that. Instead, the master basically says, "I don't care how you feel. I want my meal. After I am served, then you can take care of yourself."

This is also a story about total lack of gratitude. Jesus asked if the servant should be thanked for preparing the master's meal first. Of course the answer is no. The servant does what ...

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James T. Bradford is general secretary of the Assemblies of God, and author of Preaching.

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Sermon Outline:



I. The "me first" problem

II. Living out of God's abundance

III. The servant's life is the crucified life