“Suppose one of you has a ·servant [slave] who has been plowing the ground or caring for the sheep. When the servant comes in from working in the field, would you say, ‘Come in and ·sit down to eat [L recline; C the posture for a banquet or formal meal]’?
“If any of you has a servant ploughing or looking after the sheep, are you likely to say to him when he comes in from the fields, ‘Come straight in and sit down to your meal’? Aren’t you more likely to say, ‘Get my supper ready: change your coat, and wait until I eat and drink: and then, when I’ve finished, you can have your meal’? Do you feel particularly grateful to your servant for doing what you tell him? I don’t think so. It is the same with yourselves—when you have done everything that you are told to do, you can say, ‘We are not much good as servants, for we have only done what we ought to do.’”
When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, he doesn’t just sit down and eat, but first prepares his master’s meal and serves him his supper before he eats his own. And he is not even thanked, for he is merely doing what he is supposed to do.
“Suppose one of you has a servant who comes in from plowing the field or tending the sheep. Would you take his coat, set the table, and say, ‘Sit down and eat’? Wouldn’t you be more likely to say, ‘Prepare dinner; change your clothes and wait table for me until I’ve finished my coffee; then go to the kitchen and have your supper’? Does the servant get special thanks for doing what’s expected of him? It’s the same with you. When you’ve done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, ‘The work is done. What we were told to do, we did.’”
Imagine this scenario. You have a servant—say he’s been out plowing a field or taking care of the sheep—and he comes in hot and sweaty from his work. Are you going to say, “You poor thing! Come in and sit down right away”? Of course not!
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