Servanthood

Dear Fellow Disciple:

"His master said to him, "Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master." (Matthew 25:21)

What constitutes being a good and faithful slave (servant)? We realize we can't earn our way into heaven by serving; salvation comes by God's grace. Our personal attempt at righteousness is as filthy rags, so what does it take to be good and faithful?

This parable in Matthew deals with our faithfulness of service, not our degree of usefulness. It is not a race for achievement so much as it is a test of sincerity. God looks at our individual ability and our degree of stewardship in that ability.

Our talent has been given us by God in His grace and wisdom. Maximum use of our talent, amounts to 100% utilization; if we do nothing with our talent, we have zero utilization. Many of us fall into the trap of believing we have so little to offer God, we simply do nothing. We feel unworthy and incapable. These feelings are deceptive and destructive because they center upon self rather than upon God's purpose for our lives.

It may be true that we have only one, seemingly insignificant talent, but if we remain focused upon our limitations, our eyes and our thoughts are not upon God. If that happens, we have zero utilization, our stewardship suffers from neglect, and we are identified in the heavenlies as an unfaithful servant.

Sometimes, we may observe fellow-Christians, in awe at the way God blesses them with special talents or spiritual gifts. Again, we are off on the wrong track. Comparison with our neighbors should have no place in our lives. Our neighbors' gifts are different from ours. They are not more nor less valuable, they are simply different. Our energies should be focused upon making the most of what God has given us, and that is the extent of it.

The meaning of the word used in our Scripture is: a slave, one bound to serve, one whose will and capacities are wholly at the service of another. A slave never says, "Yes, but...," when told to do something by his master. He never questions nor rationalizes a command, he simply moves in obedience. A slave is constantly attuned to the will of his master because he is always in proximity to his master's voice.

How do we become good and faithful servants, slaves of our Lord? And why is slavery necessary? The word has a negative tone, especially to those of us in the free world.

When we apply it to Christian service it loses its restrictive quality. Instead, it expresses the highest devotion of one who is bound by love. Jesus said, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him." (John 14:21) That is the best reason imaginable to keep the commandments of our Lord!

A bonus is attached to servanthood. When we become slaves to our Lord, we are certain to fulfill His purpose for our lives. We know that God's will is revealed in His Word. It is obvious that if we ignore God's Word, we ignore His will. If we ignore His will, we miss His purpose for our lives.

When we understand this principle, obedience becomes everything. Disobedience takes us in a direction of our own choice. It is possible to accept our salvation and still be disobedient. Israel accepted its deliverance out of the bondage of Egypt, but that generation, through disobedience, died in the wilderness. Instead of inheriting the promised land, they missed the fulfillment of God's purpose for them.

The proper definition of disobedience in the Bible is: unwillingness to be persuaded; wilful unbelief that opposes itself to the gracious purpose of God; refusing belief and obedience; insubordinate. If we refuse to obey the Word, it indicates we don't believe the Word. Since there is no such thing as non-belief (we must believe something), that means we believe the opposite of the Word. That was Eve's position in the garden.

It becomes a simple matter of will, ours or His. When we read His Word, if our reaction is, "Yes, but...," we're telling God, "We see what You are saying, but our situation makes it impractical to apply Your principles right now."

Those are not the words of a slave. God wants us to trust Him in every aspect of our lives. We prove we trust Him when we apply His principles in every situation. Our obedience then brings God the glory He has charged to our account, and He can say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Jesus is King!

P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?

Question for today: How did I qualify as a slave today?