Luke 17:9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
In Luke 17:9 Jesus plainly says that a man would not "thank" his servant because he had done the things that were commanded him. However, just two chapters later when Jesus tells the parable of the man who entrusted the ten pounds to the ten servants, He reveals the Master's attitude toward a faithful servant:
Luke 19:17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
Even though the Master did not actually use the words "thank you," he was most certainly commending this good servant, and gave him a promotion in his stewardship. It is splitting hairs to say, "Well, the Master did not actually 'thank' the servant though."
We are wanting to understand the heart of the Master toward his faithful servants and what Jesus desires in the hearts of "first class servants." To say "thanks" or to "commend" makes very little difference, so why did Jesus make a point of it in Luke 17? That is the question. The conclusion that Jesus came to in Luke 17 was:
Luke 17:10 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.
As we have shown before, the word "unprofitable" does not mean "of no value, or worth, or benefit" to the kingdom of God. After all, Jesus is trying to make them disciples like unto himself, the "Son who serves" by reaping a harvest of souls for the Father. Jesus, THE "Serving Son," was most certainly profitable to the kingdom of God as He served the Father.
A second proof is Matthew's account of the man who was unwilling to trade his talent. Jesus called him unprofitable in the sense of not being of value, worth, nor benefit to the kingdom.
Mat 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Most certainly Jesus did not intend for His disciples to "make confession" that they would be like that wicked servant. So what did Jesus mean by "say we are unprofitable servants" in Luke 17?
He meant, say "We do not serve for personal profit. We are not hirelings. We are bond slaves by our own free choice. We serve for love's sake alone, not for personal profit."
The parable of the ten talents gives us a second witness that this is the attitude the Master wants His servants to have. Notice that he commended the faithful servants who had traded their pound and gathered increase. Notice also that He increased the scope of their stewardship to now also include authority over cities instead of merely over money. But notice also that HE DID NOT "PAY" THEM FOR THEIR SERVICE!
THAT is the attitude of heart that Jesus is trying to reveal to His disciples in Luke 17 when He says the Master does not "thank" his servant for doing what is commanded him. As servants, we are not to expect our Master to say something like, "You obeyed Me? You served Me today? How unexpected! I am surprised at your unanticipated generosity that you would obey your Master's commands. Please, accept this payment as My 'thanks' for your most gracious behavior."
Bond slaves do not expect, nor desire, payment for their service to the Master. They chose to be His slave of their own free will, for love's sake alone. They do not have the attitude of hirelings, nor do they expect "payment" for their labors to serve Him whom they love. Bond slaves who are "first class servants" only desire that the needs of their Master be met FIRST. When that is accomplished, their heart is already full. They require no payment. They require no personal "profit" for their labor of love for Him.
Again, the best analogy to help me understand this is the way my grandfather's farm operated. When his sons came in from the fields after serving all day, grandfather was not "surprised" that they had done the things that he assigned for them to do, neither was his provision for them at the dinner table prorated to each son based on his performance in the field. He did not "thank them" as if their service was something unexpected. Neither did they expect him to "pay them" as though they were employees.
They did what "serving sons" do ... they served! Once the day’s labors had been accomplished and that day's increase had been gathered into grandfather's barns, THEN they came to dine at the family dinner table because they were sons, not because of their service!
Again, grandfather did not line them up and "pay" them separately each day as though they were employees. These were sons, who served. Their service in the field had nothing to do with their provision at the family dinner table.
The "Sowing and Reaping" message, as it has been taught to this hour, virtually guarantees failure in producing Kingdom Financial Stewards with an anointing to transfer massive wealth from the world system of mammon into the Kingdom Of God. Why? Because it is designed to produce unfaithful stewards. It is designed to produce "hirelings," not first class servants like Jesus described in Luke 17:1-10.
We have been taught that God meets our needs in proportion to our sowing of finances into the work of the gospel. "Sow a seed to meet your need" is just one of the many phrases we are bombarded with via Christian television, tapes and books. The resulting mindset in believers is that the way that God meets their personal needs is by sending them a "harvest" from their financial sowing into the kingdom. THAT IS THE VERY MINDSET JESUS WAS TEACHING AGAINST WHEN HE SAID "DOTH HE THANK THAT SERVANT? I TROW NOT." [See the lesson – "Does He Thank That Servant?"]
We have been taught to have the mindset that we are "farmers" in the kingdom of God. The more we sow, the more we personally reap. WE ARE NOT FARMER'S IN GOD'S KINGDOM ... WE ARE SONS, SERVING IN OUR FATHER'S FIELDS TO REAP A HARVEST FOR HIM! Our Father is desiring sons who will be faithful stewards of finances in His kingdom. If He can find such faithful sons, he will promote them to ever increasing levels of financial stewardship, just as we see in the parable of the ten pounds. (Luke 19:11-27)
But if we have the mindset [stronghold] that the "gain" on the pound is "our harvest" rather than the "Lord's gain," and consume the increase "on ourselves" rather than steward that increase for the kingdom, we have already proven ourselves to be unfaithful stewards. Retaining that mindset guarantees that we will NOT be promoted to ever higher levels of financial stewardship.
Again, the good steward in that parable presented both the original pound AND THE INCREASE to His Master at the reckoning. THE GOOD STEWARD HAD NOT CONSUMED THE POUND, NOR THE INCREASE ... UPON HIMSELF! He did not consider the "gain" to be his own personal "harvest," as we have been taught. No, he considered the original pound and the gain to belong to the Lord. He did not partake of ANY of it for his own personal use.
What would my grandfather have thought had he learned that one of his sons had secretly built a grain silo for himself and that every day this son was depositing the bulk of the grain harvested on grandfather's farm into his own personal silo and bringing only a pittance of the harvested grain into grandfather's silo? It would not take long for grandfather to remove that son from his labors in the harvest fields altogether. He most certainly would not promote that son to greater levels of stewardship regarding the harvest.
This is a primary reason why we have had no Kingdom Financial Stewards who have been steadily promoted to greater and greater levels of authority in the realm of stewarding money for the Father. The "Sowing and Reaping" message guarantees that no such stewards shall ever arise. The Sowing & Reaping Message teaches us that the "harvest" belongs to the sower, not to the Father. ONLY SHARECROPPERS HAVE THAT MENTALITY, NOT SONS AND HEIRS WHO LABOR IN THEIR FATHER'S FIELDS.
The principle for exaltation in stewardship is:
1 Cor 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
Another analogy that illustrates the principle is that of an Ambassador. Suppose a wealthy and benevolent nation decides to help the people of a third world, impoverished nation. The wealthy nation sends an Ambassador to oversee the operation. No doubt they wealthy nation would provide a house and a salary for the Ambassador to use personally while he lived in the third world country.
The function of the Ambassador is to be a faithful steward to make sure that the money sent from the wealthy nation is used for the purpose of helping the impoverished people. As the wealthy nation sends finances into the Ambassador's account, he is to use it to finance projects such as digging water wells, purchasing grain for the people to plant for crops, building roads on which their crops can be brought to market, constructing schools to educate them ... and a thousand other such projects.
But suppose someone came along and taught this Ambassador the "Sowing and Reaping" message, as we have been taught it today. They teach the Ambassador, "Every time you give to this poor people, your wealthy nation will send you more finances. What the wealthy nation sends is 'your' harvest, personally. As long as you continue to just sow a little more of 'your' harvest to the poor people, your wealthy nation will keep sending you more."
If the Ambassador believes that, he would operate something like this: He "sows" the first hundred dollars by spending it on worthy projects for the poor people. His wealthy nation sends him and additional ten thousand dollars. Believing this to be his own personal harvest, he spends nine thousand dollars of it to lavishly decorate his residence [which had been provided by the wealthy nation] and only spends one thousand dollars on the poor people. After all, a thousand dollars is "more" sowing than he did the last time.
His nation next sends him one hundred thousand dollars, [thinking the Ambassador is being a faithful steward to spend the money for the original purpose]. Again, thinking this to be his own personal harvest, the Ambassador keeps ninety thousand dollars for his own personal use, but does sow "more" to the poor people by spending ten thousand dollars on them this time instead of the previous one thousand dollars. Again, he is justified in his own mind because sowing ten thousand dollars is much "more" than he sowed the last time.
Can you imagine what will be the reaction of the wealthy nation when it comes time to do an accounting of this Ambassador's books? At this point, the wealthy nation has entrusted $110,100.00 to his stewardship. Of that amount, he has kept $99,000.00 for himself and only spent $11,100.00 on the projects for which the finances were intended.
Not only would he immediately be removed from his "stewardship," but most likely he would be imprisoned for the rest of his life. The "Sowing and Reaping" message destroyed the Ambassador's concept of "stewarship." It guaranteed his failure as a faithful steward.
The "Sowing and Reaping" message teaches us to be just such Ambassadors. No wonder there have been virtually none whom the Father could promote to greater and greater levels of authority in Stewarding Kingdom Finances.
Just like a serving son on my grandfather's farm, the Ambassador needed to make a clear distinction between his own personal provision and his stewardship. If he desired more provision, then he should have petitioned his wealthy nation for an increase in salary. His personal provision must never be drawn from the finances over which he has been made "steward." These are two completely separate and different things. To mingle the two is to be disqualified as a faithful steward.
The increase gained from sowing is to be an increase in our stewardship, not our provision.
If we desire an increase in our provision, we are to simply ask. "Ye have not because ye ask not." (James 4:2b)