FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
August 25, 2016
Today’s reading: Matthew 24:42-51
Servant leaders are very important instruments for God’s will in the world to be done. They are the ones who are entrusted with and tasked to carry out His plans. How they perform will determine to a large degree what happens to God’s people.
What must a responsible servant leader do?
First, he must be vigilant. We are already in the end times, but we do not know when Jesus will actually return. So a servant leader simply must be prepared and ready at any time, 24/7. “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” (v.42).
Second, he must protect his Master’s interests. He must protect those entrusted to his care. The enemy is always trying to assault God’s dominion, and take what belongs to Him. The servant leader must resist the enemy at every turn. “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.” (v.43).
Third, he must be faithful and prudent. God entrusts him with as a steward–to care for the flock, to handle resources, to help keep communities intact. He feeds them with God’s word and feeds God’s poor with material things. “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time?” (v.45).
Fourth, he must not relax his guard. He must not become complacent or lazy, just because Jesus is long in coming. He must not say to himself, “My master is long delayed.” (v.48b), and so neglect his duties. Because that would allow the enemy to wreak havoc on what he has been tasked to care for, then the Master would consider him a “wicked servant” (v.48a).
Fifth, he must look only to the one enemy and not be in conflict with his co-workers. When God’s people no longer look to fighting the one enemy, they end up fighting with each other. And so a servant “begins to beat his fellow servants” (v.49a). As such, he would not only be weakening the body, but would become distracted as to allow the enemy to slip in.
Sixth, he must not conform to the decadent ways of the world. The enemy uses the world and the flesh to lure God’s people away from Him. The servant leader must not succumb to this “and eat and drink with drunkards” (v.49b). If he does, he in effect joins the ranks of the enemy.
And so “the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour” (v.50). That being the case, and entrusted with such important work, the servant leader “must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” (v.44). The punishment for not being awake, prepared and vigilant is severe. The Master “will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” (v.51). On the other hand, the reward for fidelity in fulfilling his task will be glorious. “Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.” (v.46).
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