Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is that servant whom, when his master comes, he will find so doing. I solemnly declare to you, he will set him over all his possessions.
But if that servant is wicked and says to himself, My master is delayed and is going to be gone a long time, and begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with the drunken, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour of which he is not aware,
And will punish him [cut him up by scourging] and put him with the pretenders (hypocrites); there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.
This is a rather long passage to present today, but it was what came to mind as I witnessed the contrast within our American experience this past week. Among my fellow human beings, I have observed both lawlessness and grace; as well as compassion and cruelty. And I would be willing to submit to you that most all of these people would identify themselves as believers in Jesus Christ. They would most likely check the box next to "Christian", if asked about their religious convictions.
Yet were some of these same people involved with the burning and destruction of property in Ferguson? Did they harbor hate and cast aspersions on a brother of Christ because of the color of his skin? Were they among the greedy and disgraceful shoppers that mobbed the nation's stores on Black Friday? Sadly, I think we all know the answers.
If Jesus had decided to return this past week, can you see how this Scripture would have played out? We are the servants who have been left in charge until His return, and the question becomes, "How are we fulfilling our duties"? As you can see from the parable, the Master desires that we serve each other; to provide the sustenance (both physical and spiritual) that the "household", or Body of Christ, needs until "the proper time" -- which is the hour of His return.
So are we lifting up our brethren, encouraging them, helping them when they need assistance? Are we acting as those who follow His commandments to first love Him, and then to love our fellow man?
I was greatly encouraged after seeing the outpouring of charity to those business owners who suffered such devastating losses in the wake of the rioting and looting in Ferguson. Through an online donation website, business owners received the genuine outpouring of Christian love from the Blessed Servants that our Scripture speaks about. Nearly $300,000 has been raised in 3 days, by strangers, to help those who need to rebuild their businesses.
Our Scripture says that those servants were faithful, thoughtful, and wise. I know that we cannot assume that everyone who donated looks upon Jesus Christ as their Savior; but I think it is safe to say that the Holy Spirit is working in someone who responds to the needs of another with selfless charity. We can pray that each of those individuals will continue in their journey to receive the full blessings of the Kingdom of God.
And what Blessings they will be! The Word tells us that these servants will not only be happy and fortunate, but envied; for they will be "set over all his (the Master, Jesus) possessions." In other words, those of us who fulfill our duties as servants of Christ on this earth, will "rule and reign" with Him, as His trusted servants in the Millennial Kingdom at His return. We will hear, "Well done, you good and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy which your master enjoys." (Matthew 25:23)
But what of those "wicked" servants? Those who give no mind to the hour or the day, nor how their every deed will be scrutinized upon the Master's return? True, they also wear the title "Christian", are in church every Sunday, and act the part among their peers. But how are they out in public; did they react in anger or impatience over the Thanksgiving holiday? Did they push and shove at the Midnight Sale at Macy's? Are they more interested in the material, temporal, and sensual aspects of the Christmas season than any true reflection on the amazing fact that God came to dwell with us on earth? Ultimately, are they neglecting to attend to our first responsibility, which is to nurture, and care for, and grow followers of Jesus Christ?
We must not dismiss this awesome duty with which we've been tasked. Today's Scripture is very graphic about the consequences of that dereliction of duty. We will stand judged and the ramifications will not be pleasant! He will accuse us as hypocrites; we will be punished; and we will not share in the benefits of those who remained faithful and productive.
I know this does not jive with the message of a Merciful God, or the Age of Grace in which we now live. But we must realize that God will not be, and is not, whatever we want to imagine He is. This Scripture reflects the fulness of the Character of God and His Son. He is who He says He is in the Bible. He will do what He says He will do. He will recognize you for who you are.
We may all be His servants, but it is abundantly clear that what kind of servant you are will matter. Wise ... or wicked ... your reward depends on it.