Didn’t Jesus call us his friends? Aren’t we called sons and daughters of God? Then why does he tell us to call ourselves “unprofitable servants”? Sometimes, Jesus can seem so confusing!
Actually, Jesus is not saying that we are worthless. We are all God’s children, and we are all his friends. Neither is he saying that our works are worthless or unprofitable. Surely saints like Francis of Assisi and Mother Teresa made a huge difference. Here’s the point. Our works for the Lord or the Church can deepen our faith. They are good for us and for the people we serve. They actually help build the Church. But they do not give us the right to demand anything from God.
Jesus wants us to be as humble as he was. He never flaunted himself or insisted on special treatment because he is God. No, he emptied himself and took on the form of a slave. He obeyed his Father in every way. And because of that, Jesus was exalted.
Jesus wants us to keep in proper perspective all the words of recognition, praise and congratulations that people give us. He doesn’t want who we are or what we do to go to our heads. This is why he rebuked Peter for suggesting that Jesus was too important to be crucified.
In the end, we are all “unprofitable servants” (Luke 17:10). Every breath we take comes from the Lord. Every good deed we do is a sign of his grace at work in our lives. But being “unprofitable” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a humble recognition that we are God’s children, redeemed, called and equipped to build his kingdom.