BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY
We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
Heroes are often decorated for going “above and beyond the call of duty” to perform some feat not required in the ordinary normal course of their obligations. It might shock some church members who pride themselves on doing their duty to be told that they are unprofitable servants, but such we are if we merely do what is normally required of us. Now, it is a good thing to do our duty, and most of us do not even get that far. But we can get that far and merit no better word than “unprofitable.” Alas, some of our best church workers and busiest religious folk never get beyond this category.
God’s awards are for the Saints of the Second Mile who go above and beyond the call of duty. It is not whipping ourselves up to increased quantity production that is in mind here. It is the spontaneous and overflowing ministry that does far more for Jesus than it has to just because we love Him so.
We are glad to do far more than our duty for those we love on earth. Shall we do less for the Lover of our souls?
NO OUTSIDE HELL
For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good to them that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
Ezra 8:22, 23
Ezra had made great claims for his God and now he was ashamed to ask assistance from the king. And well we may be, but some of us are not. We recite: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God”; we boast that our God is able to deliver us; but in an emergency we go to Egypt for help or borrow the militia of Artaxerxes. King Asa, after God’s mighty deliverance from the Ethiopians, made a league with Syria when Baasha threatened him. Hanani, the seer, said, “Herein hast thou done foolishly.” And we always do foolishly when we sing and preach about a God who supplies all our need and then beg help from the ungodly.
It ought to embarrass us to ask help from this world. We do not need its assistance. Let us beseech our God, and He will be entreated of us.