Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 9 of “Fan or Follower – Be Faithful!” (LISTEN HERE).
Matthew 25:30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Great passage to start the day, right?
Every week we put worthless items in our trash can and put the can out on the curb to be picked up and taken to the dump. The items inside…rarely are given a second thought.
When we are done with something, or an item has lost its usefulness, it is cast out.
But to hear about a person being treated like worthless trash?
The statement gets our attention.
In our culture today, the ability to allow justice to prevail and harsh consequences to come on an individual, is almost unheard of. It is espoused as unloving. Excuses are made for the bad behavior. Justice at times assigns the most minimal consequence possible.
So to have JESUS of all people call someone in his parable “Worthless” and script the orders to “throw out” the servant seems contrary to all we would like to think of Jesus as loving and accepting of any behavior.
But that’s not true…and it’s not Jesus.
To be sure, Jesus is more than willing to show mercy and give individuals opportunity for repentance and a change of heart and mind. The Bible is full of individuals whom God forgave and gave another chance to serve him and add value to his kingdom (think of David, Saul/Paul, Peter, and more).
So what would lead to such a harsh condemnation of this servant?
The condemnation wasn’t arbitrary. The condemnation was earned.
Permit a bit of conjecture along with the details of the parable. (Refer to Matthew 25:14-30 from yesterday.)
The Master distributed HIS talents according to the SERVANT’s ability. While the amount of talents given not as consequential to what the servants chose to do with them, the fact that one was given five (according to his ability) and this servant was given one (according to his ability) perhaps indicates this servant has had a bit of a poor record of handling his Master’s property and affairs. Yet, the Master was willing to invest in him one more time. The servant was given ONE talent to use as the Master desired it to be used…to bring a return.
The servant KNEW the Master was “a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed” (Matthew 25:24). What strikes me is the other two servants did not characterize the master this way, yet had the same master. Whether the other two would characterize the Master that way or not is not said, but it seems the servant who said this felt burdened and resistant to the way the Master operated. He did not revel in his role as servant, just saw the burden of being a servant to a Master he perceived as unjust and demanding.
The servant in fear HID the talent and did NOTHING with it…not even put it on deposit.
So, did the Master have a right to give a very dishonorable discharge to this servant? Yes.
The servant was unfaithful to his Master. He seems to have a persistent record of not being faithful in his stewarding of the Master’s affairs. He seems to have a heart that carries more animosity and resistance to the Master than respect and love for the Master. He refused to even try to carry out the words of his Master.
So he lost the opportunity to serve the Master again.
Unfaithfulness is exhibited by a pattern of refusing to follow the direction of our heavenly Father. Unfaithfulness comes when our heart has resistance and animosity to the Father who loves us and trusts us with a portion of his estate. Unfaithfulness is when we refuse to carry out the role of servant in God’s kingdom, and refuse to put what God has given to us to work for the benefit of the kingdom of God.
The harsh ending of Jesus’ parable is a call to repentance to moments, seasons, or a lifetime of unfaithfulness.
Would the Master have welcomed the servant back if there was repentance and a request for forgiveness? I would guess so. But there was no repentance. And where there is no repentance, there is no application of forgiveness.
Perhaps today is not a message of encouragement, but a call to repentance. We need that as well. Repentance leads to forgiveness. Just as the justice of God will throw out the worthless servant, so the mercy of God will restore the repentant sinner.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Apply: Take time today to repent of unfaithfulness, seek God’s forgiveness and the Spirit’s help to engage faithfully as a servant of Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times and seasons of unfaithfulness in my life. As I recognize what my sin deserves, I seek your mercy to cover my unfaithfulness with the faithful life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. AMEN.