Our Good and Gracious Master

The Parable of the Talents by Willem de Poorter (Image Source: WikiMedia Commons)
The Parable of the Talents by Willem de Poorter (Image Source: WikiMedia Commons)

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. Mt. 25:21

This is from the famous parable of the talents. In this parable, a ruler gives talents (a significant sum of money) to several servants before going on a long journey, and entrusts his goods to them, expecting them to use his wealth for the profit of his house. Two of the servants do so (ver. 19-23), while a third sits on his money and does nothing with it (ver. 24-30). This slothful servant reveals why he did so: it was because he thought his lord was "a hard man" (ver. 24). However, it was an ungracious judgment, as the comparison with the other two servants shows.

Far from being a hard man, the lord generously rewarded those servants who were faithful, giving them a recompense for their labor that was beyond what they had actually earned. They were faithful over a few things, but the lord made them ruler over many things. Again, far from being a hard man, his reward was to give them entrance into and enjoyment of the joy of their master.

Of course this is a parable, meant to illustrate aspects of the kingdom of heaven (ver. 14). The lord here is an obvious reference to Jesus, who as our Lord has gone into heaven and will one day return in glory. All will stand before him to be judged and to give an account of their lives. Those who by grace were faithful will be rewarded by entering into the joy of the Lord, and those who were not faithful will be cast into outer darkness (ver. 30).

But what I want to point out today is this: let us beware that we don't adopt the mindset and attitude of the slothful servant. Let us especially beware of thinking that our Lord is hard. It is easy to get into this mindset though, especially when the way is difficult. But our Lord is not hard. He is the most gracious, loving, and caring of masters. He does not award us according to our iniquities but freely and graciously forgives all the sins of his people. He meets us with present grace and will bestow upon us future glory. O tired and weary but faithful believer, one day you will hear the words, "Well done," and the thrill of that will be worth it all. You will enter into the joy of your Master and you will experience the reality of what Paul has promised, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). No, let us not say our Lord is hard. He is not - quite the opposite, he is infinitely good and the very best of masters.

And therefore let us not be discouraged though the way be hard, but give him our best and be always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord our labor for him and his kingdom is not, and will never be, in vain (cf. 1 Cor. 15:58; Heb. 6:10).