BE A FAITHFUL SERVANT
KV: 45,46 “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? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.”
Throughout this chapter, Jesus describes in full detail the great tribulation and his second coming. He emphasized three important things: the rise of false messiahs and prophets; ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ as the sign of his return; and his coming in view of the world as lightning and with power and glory. He then confirmed in verse 35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
How should we respond to Jesus’ prediction of the tribulation and his second coming? Apparently, we must remember his words and put his direction into practice daily as a matter of life and death, because whether we believe it or not, his prediction will be fulfilled and Jesus will return with his power and great glory and judge the living and the dead.
Before his second coming, how does Jesus teach us to prepare?
Read verses 36-41. “36“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”
First, Jesus states that the day of his coming is unknown. Only God knows. Then he compares the situation of his coming to the days of Noah, for the people in the days of Noah knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. Why did the people not know about the flood until it came? Did no one warm them? Of course they knew. They saw Noah making an ark on the hill with his family. They heard about God’s coming judgment from Noah’s testimonies, and for that reason, Noah told them that he was building the ark. But what was their response and attitude? Look at verse 38: “38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark." Apparently, they didn’t believe and pay attention to Noah or the ark. In fact, they didn’t care about the judgment day; they were busy living for their own business. They were not interested in believing God and his teaching through Noah’s daily life as their Bible. Their minds were not in God, but on parties and their worldly lives.
Another comparison of Jesus is in Lk.17:28-30, “28“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” (NIV)
28-30“It was the same in the time of Lot—the people carrying on, having a good time, business as usual right up to the day Lot walked out of Sodom and a firestorm swept down and burned everything to a crisp. That’s how it will be—sudden, total—when the Son of Man is revealed.” (MSG)
How sudden will Jesus’ coming be? “40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” As he declared, his appearing will be as lightning, and no one will be ready for that day. There will be no time to repent of our sins. How can we accept this sudden appearance, unless we have been prepared?
Last month, I talked to my brothers in Korea about N. Korea making nuclear bombs and plotting attacks. My brothers didn’t pay attention, however. They are used to this kind of news and see them just as rumors and talk. Nothing has happened yet, as they say. However, I remember how suddenly the Korean War began in our country in 1951. N. Korean attacked us at dawn one Sunday while everyone was sleeping, including the soldiers. It was completely unexpected.
Second, ‘keep watch’. Read verses 42-44. “42“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Again, Jesus described his coming as an unknown day and unknown hour, like a thief’s coming. He gives us wisdom, to ‘keep watch.’ He explains what this means: “If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.” Here, we see keeping watch is being awake and aware of a thief coming so that we can protect our house. But it is never easy to ‘keep watch.’ How is it possible?
There are good examples in the Bible of people who kept watch during their lives before God. One of them is Simeon in Lk.2:25-35. When he saw the child Jesus, he immediately recognized him; he took him in his arms, praised God and gave an amazing prophecy. The Holy Spirit led him to meet the child, Jesus. His life seemed to be one of prayer and devotion to the Scriptures.
The prophet Anna was also led by the Holy Spirit. She met the child Jesus and gave thanks to God for the redemption of Jerusalem. She prophesied about Jesus for all who were waiting for the Messiah. Luke 2:37 says, “…and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” She fasted and prayed and lived in the temple for 84 years. These prophets expressed their life of prayer as being watchful in the spirit before God. (Lk.2:36-40)
A prayer life is one of the best ways to keep watch for Jesus’ coming. Without having a prayer life, we are spiritually dull. Jesus’ coming is not a physical thing, but a spiritual event, though it is visible in our eyes. His coming is for the heavenly kingdom and eternal hell. As much as we pray and communicate with God, we are spiritually awake and led by the Holy Spirit. Daily prayer life helps us to keep awareness and have spiritual discernment, and we remember and meditate on the word of God so that we are like a tree planted by the water.
Third, who is the faithful and wise servant? Read verses 45-47. 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? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions” “48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Jesus gives us another good illustration of an exemplary life in these verses. The faithful and wise servant who is in charge of his master’s servants gives them their food at the proper time, whether the master comes or not. When his master sees what the manager is doing, he will be very happy and give him more privileges. But the other manager who knows his master will stay away for long time fools around does whatever he wants, mistreats the master’s servants, and eats and drinks with drunkards. In this way, he forgets his master's return. Apparently, for this manager, there will be severe punishment.
What is the life-saving attitude described in this parable? Here, we see Jesus describes a servant’s faithfulness as ‘keeping watch’. To the master, faithfulness is the most important attitude of the servant. When I worked for a shoe company, I saw my boss was so discouraged and upset by his employees’ unfaithful attitude. He fired these employees and looked for faithful people. Last month, my son’s company fired 2,000 employees one morning, while on the other hand, my son got a promotion this month. He knows what his boss wants.
Faithfulness is more important toward God. Jesus keeps on telling us to keep watch and be faithful to God. What is the meaning of ‘being faithful (faithfulness)’? It means, apparently, ‘be constant, be loyal, be devoted, be steady,’ and so on. In the Bible, God blesses his faithful servants and uses them greatly for his people in dark times, like John the Baptist.
In this parable, we can learn one servant is faithful to his master, and the other servant is faithful not to his master, but to himself. The faithful servant took care of his duty until his master returned. The wicked servant took care of himself, instead of his job given by the master. Depending on being faithful to the master or being faithful to himself, the consequence is obviously opposite.
What is our duty until our Lord comes? Verse 45b says, “the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time.” As Jesus is our master, we are his managers. He put us in charge of his flock in his love to give them their food at the proper time faithfully. We are responsible to feed his flock the word of God regularly. We are responsible to serve the his word with obedience until he returns. “Feed my sheep,”(Jn.21:15-21)
Based on our faithfulness to our Father in heaven, or faithfulness to myself and own life, regards us as the faithful servant or the wicked servant. He rewards those who are faithful to him, but he severely punishes those who are not faithful to him. There is no middle ground between faithfulness and unfaithfulness, for God knows the attitude of our hearts. We cannot step one foot on God’s side and the other on our side. Jesus declares that we cannot serve two masters, and we cannot love God and money at the same time. (Mt.6:24) We must love God alone, and then he provides us what we need. We must be faithful until Jesus our Lord returns with power and glory through our prayer life and obeying his word daily.
“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? 46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.”
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