‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.’
Those words are the epitome of humility. They recognize that our life and our calling are at the service of our God, who gives us everything we have and everything we are. And so when we do something wonderful, it’s because God has given us the ability to be wonderful. When we say the right things to someone who needs to hear wisdom or compassion or even rebuke or challenge, it’s because those words come from God. When we are in the right place at the right time to be able to be present to someone who needs a friend or a parent or a teacher or a coach, it’s because God is asking us to be his presence to that person. We are just doing what we are obliged to do.
But it’s not like there isn’t reward for being the unprofitable servant. If we are servants without agenda, serving in humility and gratitude, we have hope of the promise of eternity. The wisdom writer in our first reading says:
But the souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
And being servants in God’s hands is the best place we can be – no torment can reach us there. But if we refuse to serve, or if we insist on having all the profit credited to us, then we are outside the hand of God, and God forbid what awaits us there. Serving our God in humility is indeed the task of all our lives; it is what gets us to the reward of being united with God for eternity.
When we embrace the reality of service with humility, we can sing with the Psalmist today and every day, “I will bless the Lord at all times!”