FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
THE MASTER’S RETURN
August 28, 2014
Today’s gospel: Matthew 24:42-51
The Lord Jesus will return. Indeed, we are already in the end times. But we do not know when he will return (v.42b). “So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” (v.44). So we need to “stay awake” (v.42a). We need to be vigilant and faithful to our task, each and every day, each and every hour.
We are all servants of Jesus, our Master. “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant” (v.45a)? First, he it is “whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time” (v.45b). The servant is one who faithfully performs his assigned task. For servant leaders in particular, the Lord has assigned them to care for his people. They stand in his place. They do for his people what he himself would have done for them.
Second, a servant does not tire of vigilance and faithful work. He does not say to himself, “My master is long delayed” (v.48), and proceeds to slack off or neglect his work. He is always conscious of the enemy and does not begin “to beat his fellow servants” (v.49a). Oftentimes, when we lose sight of the spiritual war we are engaged in, and of the one enemy we have, we end up tearing at each other. When we lose focus on the work, we focus on each other, and so we gossip, we criticize, we malign, we form factions. Some, no longer focused on the mission, become engaged in and ultimately enamored with the world. They begin to “eat and drink with drunkards” (v.49b). They eventually give up their work and even fall away.
Now everyone will be taken to task when the Lord returns. But this will be especially true for servant leaders. If we are found faithfully doing God’s work, then “blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.” (v.46). But if not, 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). Why such a harsh punishment? Well, because God relied on them to do His work and to care for His people. This is their responsibility and privilege. If they do not, then God’s house is broken into, then God’s people are not fed, then many for whom Jesus has already won salvation will be lost.
So “the servant’s master will come at an unexpected day and at an unknown hour” (v.50). You have been warned. “Therefore, stay awake!”
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