Two Types of Servants

Christ talked about two types of servants in the New Testament. We are familiar with His words which we would all like to hear at His return: “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:23).

This is an awesome statement, pointing to our future reward for being faithful, ruling in the Kingdom on the earth in the Millennium (Revelation 5:10).

“Well done” is music to our ears if we were told this by our manager or supervisor at work since it would signify that we not only did a good job but that the boss is very pleased with the work we performed. Hearing a compliment like this inspires us to continue to do good and even make attempts to excel in the tasks we have been given to do.

Notice the word “good.” If something is good then it is not bad. The fact that Christ said the servant was good is a very positive thing. It is much more than a manager or supervisor telling us, “good job,” which implies a job well done, bringing a swelling of joy to the hearers of such a nice compliment. Here, Christ is calling the servant “good”—not just the work which he did.

Notice the word “faithful.” If that isn’t also music to our ears, I don’t know what would be. Being called faithful means we did what was required of us. We towed the line, we endured, we did not throw in the towel even in the face of trials and adversity. We kept the faith. We were engaged in the commission of warning the world of impending doom in the near future; of preaching hope at the end of the trials coming on mankind; of proclaiming the future for those faithful servants and the promise of the resurrection and potential for all as God’s plan is rolled out; of getting the gospel—the good news—out to the world. All these aspects are encompassed in the word “faithful,” as applied to the servants of God.

Notice the word “servant.” We are not slaves or servants of Satan but rather slaves or servants of the living God, with the potential of becoming God.

This statement of how Christ is pleased with our performance should inspire us to complete the task we have been given.

Here is the other side of the coin.

Matthew 25:26-30 says:  “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.  So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

Notice the word “wicked.” This is not exactly what we would like to hear from someone above us. Wicked also means malicious and derelict, implying we failed to do the will and desires of what Christ expected of us.

Notice the word “lazy.” This is hardly a recommendation if we are looking for a job. Lazy implies neglect to do what was required of us; in other words, a miserable failure.

The unprofitable servant did nothing with his talent, not even putting it in a bank to draw interest, but he buried it. What was his reward? He lost the talent that he had been given. And he was cast into outer darkness. This is probably not what he expected, but he was a total let-down to what Christ expected of him.

So the question is this: what type of servant are you and do you want to be?

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