When looking to hire people for their firms, employers advertise the positions that are available and briefly describe what will be expected of potential employees.

Those who express an interest in a position are interviewed in person or online. In the process, they are asked about their qualifications and work experience and given more details about what they would be doing if hired.

Prospective employees are then given a written job description. Such a job description specifically describes the kind of work an employee will be expected to do, explains responsibilities and requirements, details compensation and benefits, list days and times of employment, and may also indicate to whom the employee will report.

No person would ever accept a position without knowing all that is involved. Without a detailed job description, the chances for misunderstanding and strife between employers and employees greatly increase.

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 17:5-10), Jesus speaks about a servant who has spent a full day “plowing or tending sheep in the field.” When he returns home after his day’s work, his master tells him, “Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished.” The servant goes from outdoor work to indoor work, from field work to kitchen work.

Jesus says that such a servant would not deserve extra compensation or thanks from his master. Why, Jesus asked, would the master be “grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?” Servants were to do what they were told. That was their job description pure and simple.

In telling that parable Jesus reminds us as Christians we too have a job description. One that we accepted when we were baptized and one that we renew each time we make the Sign of the Cross or receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

We promised to love God and our neighbor, to resist temptation and sin, to care for the suffering, to let the words and example of Jesus guide our decisions, to work for justice and peace, to be unafraid to be known as a disciple of Jesus, to give time to prayer and worship, and to pass on our faith to a new generation.

When we do our best to carry out that job description, we do not put God in our debt. We do not become deserving of extra credit or favors from God. We do not become worthy of God’s admiration. We are Christians who are simply doing what we are supposed to do.

“When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'”

Today, Jesus tells us, “Fulfill your job description, be faithful Christians!”

2019 Rev. Thomas B. Iwanowski