This is a hard command to live. Most often when we have done something well, and fulfilled our duty, we seek recognition and praise. We want to be noticed. And while this may be a “normal” reaction, it’s not the most humble reaction. Humility comes in many degrees, and the deepest degree of humility allows a person to repeat this passage above and mean it.
First, we must realise that the will of God is good for us. It imposes an obligation of love on us. When we fulfill God’s will, we should take delight in that fact alone because it is good. That way, the fulfillment of God’s will becomes the source of our joy, not the recognition of others.
On the other hand, it is good when we see goodness in others and acknowledge it. We should do this not to build up their ego but to give praise to God for the good thing done. And when others see and acknowledge God’s will accomplished in our lives, we must accept their praise not as a source of our pride but as an honest acknowledgment that God is good and His will is being fulfilled. We must be grateful that we could do “what we were obliged to do.”
Embracing the will of God as a holy “obligation” also enables us to fulfill it more fully. When doing the will of God is seen as something extraordinary, we may not build a proper habit of fulfilling it. But when it’s seen as our duty of love and as the normal act we should fulfill, it’s easier to embrace His will more completely.9
Reflect, today, on this humble phrase. “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.” Try to say it, mean it and let it become the foundation of your daily service of God’s will. Doing so will set you on the “fast track” toward holiness.
Lord, I am an unprofitable servant. When I fulfill Your holy will, I acknowledge that this is a holy obligation of love and my most fundamental duty. Help me to see Your will as the most normal part of my daily life. Help me to embrace it with wholehearted faith and obedience. Jesus, I trust in You.