September 23rd, 2021 – Matthew 24:45

Verse of the Day Devotion  Matthew 24:45  Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 

Today we will look at the Parable of the Faithful Servant.  Here is this parable as found in Matthew’s gospel.

Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ and shall begin to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and shall cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:45-51.

This parable differs from the typical parable form in that here Jesus illustrates two alternative, hypothetical scenarios involving the same character rather than a contrast between two different people, one good and one evil. But the focus is the same, though perhaps Jesus makes his point more forcefully this way, provoking his disciples to consider the possibility that they too might go astray.

This servant is depicted as an overseer or manager, head over other servants in the master’s household.  Among the many things that were his responsibility, he was also charged with ensuring the others were properly fed at the appropriate time.  And because he was charged to do this, this was not a deliberate choice of his own, but he was appointed this task by his master.  It was his responsibility to ensure that the members received the food they needed at the appointed times.  And this slave does what he should. He does not know when his master will return, but apparently that does not greatly concern him. He works at the task committed to him so that whenever the master chooses to come back all will be in order.  Then Jesus says, “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.” Matthew 24:46-47.

However, if the servant He puts in charge does not do what he was charged with, it will not go as well. “But if that evil slave says in his heart, My master is not coming for a long time and shall begin to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know.” Matthew 24:48-50.  His fate is not as pleasant. “and shall cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 24:51.

This chapter about the followers of Jesus comes after the severe denunciation of the Pharisees in the previous chapter. Chapter twenty-three pronounces judgment on Pharisaic Judaism in harsh and oppressive terms, whereas chapter twenty-four pronounces judgment in equally harsh terms on the community of Jesus if they work in similar ways.  It is important to understand that Jesus does not set a high standard for people like the Pharisees and a lower one for those who have given their allegiance to him. All those who profess to serve God must accept the truth that service must be wholehearted and that in due course they will have to give account of themselves to one from whom nothing is hidden.

Now, are we giving Him wholehearted service in what we are called to do, or is it only when we have time?  Do we think we can hold off on this service for a while and do what we desire for a season?  He has told us here He wants His followers to be totally dedicated to Him and the service we render.  As He told us in this parable, “the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know” Matthew 24:50.  Let us take some time today to do some self-examination. “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5. And if you find yourself possibly falling a bit short, then make any necessary adjustments.  We do not know when He is returning.  But when He does, we all desire to hear these words directed at us. “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” Matthew 25:34-36. And He was referring to our service to Him here on the earth. “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matthew 25:45.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

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