“Thou shalt not expect gratitude.”
This Sunday’s Gospel is yet another lesson on what it means to be a disciple, a lesson that some might find difficult to understand and, indeed, follow. A true follower, we can surmise from Jesus’ analogy when his disciples asked for more faith, is a servant who does what he is told while expecting nothing in return. This may sound harsh but it puts us in our place so that we turn our attention away from our own wants, desires and requests.
The true call of discipleship is serving the master rather than oneself, and to have no expectations at all. This is challenging, for how many of us would perform an act of service for someone and then not expect even a thank you? Weren’t we always told as children that it is polite to say “thank you” when someone does us a good turn?
But disciples are called followers for a reason. Following the Father’s will is precisely the role of the disciple. As Christians, it is our task to discern God’s will in our lives and then carry it out, even when we do not fully comprehend it. Our own needs and wants become secondary. This, ultimately, is faith. We have faith in the direction that God gives us wherever it takes us, and whatever it may cost us.
There may be times when the flame of our faith is threatening to go out, such as when we are tired, grieving, or confused, but let us then think of God blowing on the coals to bring the flame back to life again. Truly, the fanning of flames is also the role of the disciple, for we are called to be flames of God’s love to bring light and warmth to the world.