SUNDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2011
FAITHFULNESS IN GOD’S SERVICE
‘…well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together’ Mtt. 25v21, 23.
THE master divided the money among his servants according to their abilities. Read: Mtt. 25v14-30. No one received more or less that he could handle. If he failed in his assignment, his excuse could not be that he was overwhelmed. Failure would indicate only laziness or hatred toward the master.
The bags of silver represent any kind of resource we are given. God gives us time, gifts and other resources according to our abilities (I Cor. 12v7-11); and he expects us to invest them wisely until he returns. We are responsible to use what God has given us well. The issue is not how much we have but how well we use what we have.
In the passage, the last man was thinking of himself. He hoped to play it safe and protect himself from his hard master, but he was judged for his self-centredness. We must not make excuses in order to avoid doing what God calls us to do. If God truly is our master, we must obey willingly. Our time, abilities, and money aren’t ours, in the first place – we are caretakers, not owners. When we ignore, squander, or abuse what we are given, we are rebellious and deserve to be punished.
Note: The person who diligently prepares for the return of Christ by investing his or her time and talents to serve God will be rewarded. On the other hand, the person who has no heart for the work of the kingdom will be punished. God rewards faithfulness. Those who bear no fruit for God’s kingdom cannot expect to be treated the same as those who are faithful. God will separate his obedient followers from pretenders and unbelievers.
Jesus, our example, was faithful. St. Paul says of him in Phil. 2v5-8. ‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.’
Sometimes in the ministry, pastors, their wives, tend to forget that God is the owner of this work (ministry). For those to be ordained we say: ‘No one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honour. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was.’ Heb. 5v4.
Some drawbacks in the service of God include but are not limited to: pride, arrogance, over-competition, worldliness, materialism, boasting of one’s family background or academic qualifications, timidity, ignorance, and lack of yielding to God.
Unless we deal with these things, we may not truly be faithful in God’s service. Faithfulness means, trust, loyalty, obedience and reliability. The Lord of the Church says: ‘…Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together’ Mtt. 25v21, 23. How many people are faithful whether they are monitored or not?
Food For Thought:
Identify some practical steps you can take to be a faithful servant of God; Pretence, hypocritical living in God’s service does more harm than good; If the income in your family is not enough, if you are a woman, would you augment it by selling your body? In what practical ways can the church leadership motivate faithful servants?
As children of God, we need to be encouraged by this bible passage: ‘Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.’ Rev. 21v12.
It is God and God alone who will certainly reward those who are faithful. Examine yourself.VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.