Good and Faithful Servants
Matthew 25:21
His lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things…

We cannot but be struck with the cheerful tone of these generous words. They encourage us to look to the brighter side of Christian life and work. This is not all failure. It is largely fruitful and acceptable to God.

I. THERE ARE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANTS OF GOD. No age in the history of the Church has been without such people. Even when the five talented men are scarce, men of two talents have abounded, and have proved their fidelity by their fruitful industry. It is well for us to be on the look out for these worthy servants of God, that we may recognize and honour them. They are the salt of the earth; they show us that God has not left himself without witness. It is especially pleasing to see men of the greatest endowments laying all their gifts out in the service of God. A truly Christian statesman or a poet of leading rank presents to us an inspiring sight of faithful service in high places. But the service may be equally true in the humblest walks of life. There is no reason why the man of one talent should not be as faithful as the man of five talents.

II. GOD GENEROUSLY RECOGNIZES THE MERITS OF HIS TRUE SERVANTS. Here we read of unstinted praise lavished upon them. It is true that no men have absolute merit with God, that all of us are sinful, and that all our good work is marred with evil. Any good in the work we have done is only accomplished by means of the grace of God, and therefore we must say, "Not unto us, but unto thy Name be the glory." Yes; the glory is all God's. Still there is room for effort and fidelity. God acknowledges these qualities, and when he sees them he rejoices over them. In his great judgment he will generously acknowledge them.

III. THE GROUNDS OF DIVINE REWARDS ARE IN THE CHARACTER OF THE SERVICE RENDERED. These are not found in the amount of work considered by itself. God does not give men wages. Nor does the system of payment by "piece work" obtain in the kingdom of heaven. God's method is to take account of character, of motive, of the way in which a person makes use of what is entrusted to him. Thus they who produce most results will not be honoured more than those people whose efforts result in less visible effects, but who are equally faithful with their smaller gifts. Still there is a sort of "payment by results." God looks for fruit. Fidelity cannot be sterile. The faithful servant will certainly have something to show for his efforts, though it may not be all he hoped for, or anything like what men demanded of him.

IV. GOD REWARDS HIS GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANTS BY COMMITTING A LARGE MINISTRY TO THEIR CHARGE. Instead of talents, these servants are to have cities. Fidelity in small things proves the character and trains the powers, and so prepares for service in large things. Now, this enlarged service is the best reward that can be offered to the diligent servant. Such a man does not desire to be released from responsibility. The paradise of idleness would be no heaven to him. He has a reward which would be a purgatory to the indolent man. Here lies the way to the joy of the Lord. They share God's joy who serve in God's kingdom, and the joy is greatest when the service is most full. - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

WEB: "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'

The Moral Value of Our Responsibilities
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