Doing Our Duty, by Louis A. Dole

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“But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
“And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
“Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
“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.” – Luke 17:7-10

Readings

Genesis 16 · Luke 17:1-19 · Psalm 116

Sermon

The lesson in this seemingly harsh parable is very clear even in the letter. Under the figure of master and servant our relation to the Lord is mirrored. As a servant, in doing his duty, does not place his master under special obligation, so men, the servants of the Lord, cannot claim any merit for their service. If we do all that we can, we cannot do more than our duty to the Lord. When we consider the gifts we continually receive from the Lord and the continual manifestation of His mercy and lovingkindness to all mankind, it is clearly evident that it is our duty to keep His commandments, and to do all the good that lies in our power. The balance will always be heavy on the Lord’s side, and we have no claim to merit.

But the parable also has a meaning applying to the mind of the individual himself. Between the mind and the body this relationship of master and servant exists. The body is the servant of the mind. Its office is to do always the commands of the soul. It is forever a servant. For the body to command the mind would be to invert order, and would bring disaster.

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“I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth,” by Louis A. Dole

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“I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth.” – Matthew 25:25

Readings

1 Samuel 17:1-11; 26-37 · Matthew 25:14-30 · Psalm 139

Sermon

Faith is an important factor in religion, and in everything of life. We do not look for victory where there is no courage. We would not trust an army to the command of one who did not believe that he could succeed. What we accomplish with what is committed to us, natural or spiritual, external or internal, depends primarily upon our faith.

Faith gives us the impulse to try. In trying we discover power and realize possibilities that before were concealed. Fear keeps us from knowing what we can do and what the Lord can give. The Word has much to say about fear and faith. They are so elementary, they lie so fundamentally at the beginning of success or failure that we need to know them from the first.

Fear and faith are opposites like darkness and light, for in ratio to the presence of one, the other vanishes.

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