READING: Leviticus 6-7, Matthew 25:1-30
“Well done, good and faithful slave!”
I loved school growing up. In fact, I still love the idea of school – so much so that I’ve debated earning another degree even though I’m a 56-year-old man with a Ph.D. degree. I still have much to learn, and the discipline of education keeps me current, forces me to prioritize, and pushes me to read and write. If I’m completely honest, though, I have another reason for liking school: that is, I still like the accolades that come with doing good work and earning good grades. You would think that I would have grown out of that desire, but it’s still there deep in my heart. It probably reflects an unhealthy need in my life, but it’s there nonetheless.
With that reflection in mind, I constantly have to check my heart in my walk with God. Do I serve God because I love Him and want to please Him, or do I serve Him to receive the applause of men? How much earthly recognition do I really want, even when I know it’s not lasting? I don’t know how obvious it is to others (I hope not much), but I know where my unchecked heart can go. Sometimes I’m caught in the tension of striving to be where I need to be and knowing that I’m not fully there yet.
The parable of the talents reminds me that God expects us to be both faithful and fruitful, and He recognizes those who are both. The master commended the slave with the five talents and the slave with two talents. What they produced differed, but each received the same blessing from the master: “Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy!” (Matt. 25:21, 23). Both were faithful to use what they had been given, and both produced something for the master. It was the wicked, lazy slave who did nothing with his talents and blamed the master for his own failures – and who wound up cast into outer darkness.
I want to be working when Jesus comes back, and I want to have much to lay at His feet. That means using what He gives me, taking a faith risk to invest it, and ever reminding myself that it all belongs to Him anyway (Matt. 25:14). It’s that latter reminder that helps me guard my heart as I seek to serve Him: any praise I get must go back to Him anyway. Had He not given me life, grace, salvation, His Word, and on and on, I would not have the opportunity to serve Him in the first place. Even if He does say to me some day, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” all I can do is fall before Him.
- Evaluate what you’re really living for.
- If you are not both faithful and fruitful in your relationship with God, ask Him to change you.
PRAYER: “God, You’re a good master. Make me a faithful and fruitful steward of what You’ve given me.”
TOMORROW'S READING: Leviticus 8-10, Matthew 25:31-46