Lord, we remain faithful and wise.
Read MATTHEW 24:45–51
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).
The question, “How are we to be ready?” is answered in these four parables which complete Matthew’s end-time discourse in chapters 24 and 25. Recalling the final sections of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7, each speaks of two possible responses to the kingdom: one leads to blessing and reward, the other to shame and destruction. Clearly, Matthew is summoning his readers to enter the narrow way onto blessing.
The first parable pictures a typical first-century home. The master gives one of his trusted servants the task of caring for his household when he is away. This would include care of the other servants, who were part of the household. The question is posed, who is the faithful and wise servant? It is he who feeds the master’s family. He is thus blessed and promoted to higher honor and responsibility. Conversely, if, while the master is delayed, the servant turns to violent maltreatment of his fellow-servants and squanders his master’s wealth on a boozy lifestyle, he will be punished severely. Matthew doesn’t mince his words where judgment is concerned: for him, it is real and violent—that person will be cut to pieces and consigned to torment, a vivid picture of eternal destruction.
This parable is straightforward for close readers of Matthew. While Jesus remains absent from the earth, believers are to emulate the faithfulness and wisdom of the servant who cares for his people. We are to be ready for Christ, by living the Gospel as Matthew has articulated, living faithfully, showing mercy, engaging in God’s mission, and edifying each other in our churches.
Many people are discouraged, for Christian service is challenging. Read 1 Corinthians 15:50–58 and Galatians 6:9,10. Be encouraged! Persevere. Your reward will be great.
Lord, when You return home may You find us fully awake and engaged in kingdom business. May You find us to be sober and wise servants, not corrupt and dissolute servants.
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