Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.
When I served in the Army, there was a mission we were given that required us to spend nine days behind enemy lines. For nine grueling days in 130 degree heat, we marched through the orchards next to the Arghandab River, clearing paths of explosive traps and creating pathways with improvised explosive charges. We cleared small villages, were ambushed, and at one point we were hunted.
I didn’t expect to come out alive, and some of us didn’t, but after that mission our leader submitted us all for prestigious awards based on our actions. The commander denied the request, saying “you simply did your jobs”. It hurt at the time, but it was a worthwhile lesson that carried over into my walk with Christ.
There were many people in the Bible who had little to no recognition and received no praise for their efforts. The man who lent the colt to Jesus as He entered Jerusalem, the man who lent the furnished upper room for the Passover meal. The women who ministered and provided for Jesus as He did ministry. Did they go above and beyond their reasonable service? As I prayed about this, the Lord told me “There will be many thrones occupied in heaven by those who went unknown”. Some of the most righteous men and women are known only by God and those whose lives they touched.
Some of the greatest of our time died or will die forgotten and alone despite their great contributions to the kingdom of heaven. So many of us want to be seen and recognized, but the kingdom is marked by humility, not pride.
I never received prestigious awards for my service in the Army because I simply did the job that I was called to do. I joined knowing that my life would be at risk, that it was my job to sacrifice myself for the good of those around me. One of the great lies of the world is that you deserve recognition and praise for doing well in this life, but the Christian does not live for this life, but the next.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your REASONABLE SERVICE. (emphasis mine)