We are expected to do what is required of us. There is little wiggle room for us to offer excuses or to justify ourselves when we fail to do the basics.
But is merely fulfilling our duties enough?
Jesus taught that our service to God must go above and beyond what we are commanded: “‘So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do'”‘(Luke 17:10). Jesus also said, “‘And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two'” (Matthew 5:41).
Applying these principles takes extra effort on our part.
For example, consider this command given to Christians by Jesus: “‘But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you'” (Matthew 5:44).
This kind of action requires a much different approach than our normal inclinations: “‘For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?'” (Matthew 5:46-47).
Loving others in a godly fashion will take extra effort on our part–especially in a time “‘…when the love of many will grow cold'” (Matthew 24:12).
One area in which we can endeavor to become truly profitable servants of God is to love others, as He loves us. We need, more than ever before, to be examples of brotherly and godly love in the extraordinary way that Jesus loves us: “‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another'” (John 13:34-35; compare John 15:12).
Christ desires that the same love which God had and has for Jesus, the Son of God, would be in His disciples. Notice that Christ prayed to God the Father: “‘… that the love with which You loved Me may be in them'” (John 17:26).
Since we have been given these commands, let’s endeavor to do them in ways that go over and above what we might otherwise be satisfied with–let’s make the extra efforts needed to become profitable servants of God!