In the workplace there is a difference between meeting expectations and exceeding expectations. When an employee does his or her job, they are doing what they were hired to do at a certain pay rate. They should not expect special recognition. However sometimes individuals misunderstand and believe that because they do their job well and consistently, they should receive special recognition.
This is what Jesus was getting at in Luke 17:7-10. He explained that a servant should not expect the master to give praise just because the servant does what was expected of him. The servant should understand who he is in relationship to the master. However, in John 15:12-17, Jesus told his disciples that he no longer considered them servants but friends. Does this mean that disciples no longer serve in the kingdom? Absolutely not! Jesus said they were friends, because Jesus revealed to them what he was doing. A servant is not brought into the counsel of the master, but friends are. However, those friends are still expected to serve the master and do their duty without thinking they will receive special recognition. The special recognition is in the form of relationship, they are friends of the master who serve him out of friendship and love, not because they have to or because they expect to receive something additional in return for their service. Their joy comes not from receiving praise, but from the relationship that they enjoy with the master. Here we are to see ourselves as those who serve in the kingdom, who expect no preferential treatment because we have done our duty. However, we are no ordinary servants, because we have been brought into our master’s counsel and therefore are considered his friends.