“Does he [the master] thank the servant because he did what he was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” (Luke 17: 9-10)
The master doesn’t say to his servant, “You have the privilege of sitting at my table because you’ve done the chores you were supposed to do.” The master has every right to expect that his servant will fulfill his obligations without additional reward.
So, if the master says to the servant who merely fulfills his duties, “Sit at my table,” that’s not so much a sign of the servant’s deserving as of the master’s generosity.
Similarly, just because we’ve done the good works that we are supposed to do, that doesn’t earn heaven’s privileges. What secures our place at our Master’s heavenly table is the graciousness of his heart. That’s the message of the gospel of grace! His mercy, not our merit, assures us of God’s eternal care.
When we perceive how generous is God’s unmerited mercy, and how great is the privilege of sitting at his table in heaven – even when we have not done all we were commanded – then we respond in loving service without expecting to earn the favor that is only granted by his grace!
Jesus, I look forward to sitting with you at the great banquet in heaven because of your mercy, rather than my merit! May that sure hope that your grace alone makes possible motivate my loving service to you today.