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We Are Unprofitable Servants. What did YAHUSHA Mean?

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

And Yahusha said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be plucked up by the root, and be planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird yourself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward you shall eat and drink? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done אתall those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. LUQAS (LUKE) 17:6-10 אתCEPHER

This teaching of Yahusha’s can irritate us and even seem hurtful if we misunderstand grace and seek to understand this text by the flesh (i.e. our sin nature). Our flesh is self-centered and thinks we deserve praise and good things from YAHUAH in return for the good things we do. The flesh expects—even demands—rewards, but YAHUAH can never be indebted to us, NEVER. Our good works are not our gift to YAHUAH; they are His gift to us.

All our works of charity and faith, for which our flesh wants credit, are YAHUAH’s work and His gift. This is made clear in this passage from the Letter to the Ephesians:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of Alahiym: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Mashiach Yahusha unto good works, which Alahiym has before ordained that we should walk in them. EPH'SIYM (EPHESIANS) 2:8-10 את CEPHER

If I think that I did something deserving of praise and reward, I am thinking in terms of the flesh, not the Spirit. When I have done something good all I can really do is to say, “Thank you” to YAH. His grace alone permitted me to do it. YAHUAH may speak elsewhere of rewarding us, but that is His business. He is not indebted to us in any way. When we have done everything we ought, our one disposition should be gratitude. We are useless servants in the sense that we can do nothing without Alahiym's grace. We can only do what He enables us to do.

That said, it is clear that work is a pillar of faith. The text from Ephesians above make it clear that work is something YAHUAH has for us. So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead (James 2:17). Likewise, YAHUSHA says, “It was not you who chose me. It was I who chose you that you should go and bear fruit that will last” (John 15:16). Yes, work is a fundamental of faith.

Content credit: MSGR. Charles Pope

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