These comments, about the role of a servant, follow the disciples request for Jesus to increase their faith.
He replies that the smallest faith could command a tree to replant itself into the sea – and it would do so.
Such inanimate objects obey without looking for a reward and nor should we.
It is in such obedience that our faith is reflected.
Perhaps it is a comment about our inability to earn salvation, or God's gratitude, by doing what we are created to do.
We should not expect gratitude, or extra points in heaven, for doing good things. That is what we are meant to do.
Our expectation should not be on our rights but on our duties - not on our expectations but on expectations of us.
Being faith-filled can not be a matter of pride or rely on anticipation of reward,
or even expect a response to our prayers.
Perhaps this was aimed at those who sought recompense for their godly lives in eternal bliss;
those who saw, and see, the purpose of faith as their eternal, and individual, reward;
compensation for sublimating their present enjoyments to the greater good.
Not so! This is merely how people are meant to behave.
Perhaps this was aimed at those who sought recompense for the religious duties that they performed.
For cleaning the church, reading the lesson, welcoming people at the door.
These are just things that we are meant to do as church members;
As humble servants of the neighbours that we love.
We are meant to live out our faith in the world, without expecting divine commendation, or soft-living, as a result.
Still it is a harsh teaching and goes against much of what have been taught about leadership and employer relations.
Wouldn't a simple "thank you" have helped?
Yet, when we think this through, we can see the "thanks" being reflected in the world around us;
In its beauty and variety; In the joy that we can experience through the gifts we have been given.
We have a duty to perform and that is, often, to be the vehicle of God's thanks to others:
to polish the brasses so that they shine to God's glory, to open our hearts in welcome,
to feed the hungry and bring unifying justice to a divided world,
to love our neighbour as ourselves.
We are called to follow the Way of Jesus, so exposing that path to others;
To cut back the brambles and thorns that would bar our passage.
That is our duty in this world, in many different guises.
We, like any humble servant, have no rights.
It is a message that Jesus spelt out at Gethsemane,
as he cried out "not my will but your's".
Are we not called to follow him?