Doing no more than required, earns no more than owed
When my sons were young they had chores they were expected to complete. The difficulty and number of jobs to complete increased with their ages. The tasks were designed to teach them about work, and reward.
One of the chores common to children everywhere is picking up toys. From the time a child can walk they are taught to put their things back where they belong. The parent or guardian teaches a number of lessons with this one task.
Tidying up after play teaches responsibility for belongings. The child learns about safety, not tripping over things in the floor. Efficiency is taught as the child can find toys or clothes quickly.
Payment for completion of the chores varies based on age as well. A toddler may receive a big hug, with cheerful praise for doing a great job. A preschooler might get a special treat, candy or cookies, along with the praise. Financial payment, or an allowance, may be negotiated starting when the child enters school. Whatever the method, the child is compensated for their work.
So too are we as Christians. Our basic compensation is our eternal salvation. That by itself is a wonderful thing! It is the happy, cheerful hug for a great job!
In the lesson as recounted by Luke here, Jesus is sort of scolding the apostles. They had asked Him to increase their faith, or bless them more.
Luke 17: 7-10
7 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?
8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
10 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.
I can almost see Christ giving a giant eye roll, followed by an audible sigh, when the apostles asked. I can almost hear Him say, “Come on guys. Really?”
Instead, Christ tells them that people don’t get bonuses for doing what they are hired to do. He uses the example of the farmer whose crew have completed some of their work. He doesn’t give them the rest of the day off with pay, they are expected to finish the job.
Jesus is, in a way, asking the apostles why they should receive more than the basics? What have they done to warrant more blessings? Have they gone above what is expected of them?
Your works as a Christian do not grant nor revoke your salvation. Christ’s death and resurrection, His Grace, give that to you freely for the asking. You can build a closer relationship with the Lord. Your spiritual gifts can be better developed by identifying and exercising them.
First you have to do the basics. You have to accept Him, and repent. Then, you pray that your mind will be open, and for understanding, and you study scripture. Converse with the Lord in prayer, and build that relationship. Apply what you have learned, and you will grow. As you grow you will be blessed. Your faith will increase.