Luke 17:10

ESV 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.’”
NIV So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.''
NASB So you too, when you do all the things which were commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’?'
CSB In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we've only done our duty.' "
NLT In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’'
KJV So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

What does Luke 17:10 mean?

The parable of the unworthy servants finishes as Jesus completes a teaching about leadership. The disciples will need to be careful to avoid tempting someone to sin, to confront those who sin, and to forgive sinners who repent (Luke 17:1–4). They need to trust that whatever small amount of faith they have, it is enough for God to do good works through them (Luke 17:5–6). And they need to serve God humbly, with no expectation of either reward or thanks (Luke 17:7–10).

Later, Paul will tell the Romans that people are either slaves to sin or slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:16–18). He will tell the Corinthians, "…for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body…" (1 Corinthians 6:20). We are not worthy to be God's servants in our fallen state. Yet because of the price Jesus paid on the cross, and our status as image-bearers of God, we know that God considers each of us valuable.

This is the attitude we must have when serving in the church, but it is not the end of God's work. Jesus does not identify us as "servants" and simply stop there. He calls us friends (John 15:15). God the Father rescues us from the spirit of slavery and adopts us as His children (Romans 8:15). Because of His grace, God will reward our good works at judgment (1 Corinthians 3:12–14).

Even so, when the disciples argue over who is the greatest, Jesus says, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves" (Luke 22:25–26). Expectation of special treatment is unbecoming for a servant of God.
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