Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant

What do you do when you hear people discussing what it takes to get into heaven where one person says they’ve been a good and moral person and the other says they are saved by faith in Jesus Christ? Of course this further begs the question, “What do I need to do to hear, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ when I arrive in heaven?”

In Jesus’ parable of the talents, the Lord tells of two faithful servants who used what they had been given to increase the master’s wealth. When the master returned from a long absence, he rewarded his two faithful servants and said to each of them, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21, 23). Every Christian longs to hear those words from Jesus’ lips someday in heaven.

We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9), but we are saved “to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10). Jesus spoke of laying up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20), and His parable of the talents hints at various rewards for those who faithfully serve Him in this world.

To hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” from Jesus, first make sure you are saved. The unbelieving will never hear those words, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). And recognize that Jesus is not only your Savior; He is also your Lord (see Luke 6:46). “Serve the LORD with gladness!” (Psalm 100:2, ESV).

Here are some ideas on ways you can serve the Lord:

1. Share the gospel. The Lord Jesus desires us to make disciples, teaching others of the nature and character of God and sharing the meaning of His death and resurrection (Matthew 28:18–20).

2. Help the disadvantaged. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19–31, the rich man is condemned because he doesn’t help Lazarus and because he trusts in his wealth too much. Don’t put self-gratification before the needs of others. First John 3:17 says, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”

3. Forgive others of their offenses. This isn’t the same as reconciliation or trust, but it means you renounce vengeance. The Lord Jesus modeled forgiveness: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to [the Father] who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

4. View your position of authority as an opportunity to help the people under you, and view your position of subservience as an opportunity to submit to your authority, just as Jesus submitted to the Father’s authority. Either way, you can be Christlike, because Jesus was both master and servant to different people. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

5. Seek to know the character of God better through church fellowship, listening to sermons, studying the Bible, praying, and chronicling how He seems to have been involved in your life.

6. Recognize that every advantageous position you’re in is because of God, the Source of every blessing: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17).

7. Be willing to be unpopular, displaying rare courage like the Good Samaritan in Jesus’ parable (Luke 10:30–37). Do what the Bible says is right, always. “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29, ESV).

8. In introspective moral judgment (evaluating your own character), look at the character of Jesus as a measure rather than rationalize your questionable actions and attitudes. Show humility.

It all comes down to this: love God more than anything, and love others sincerely (Mark 12:30–31). At the judgment seat of Christ, those who are faithful to the Lord who saved them will hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” No true servant of the Lord could ask for more.

(article reprint | Got Questions.com)


When Things Don’t Fit

Have you ever seen a father’s reaction when he discovers three words on the box of a just-bought toy: Some assembly required? What follows are hours of squeezing tab A into slot B, bolting D into F, and then hoping no one notices that steps four, five, and six were skipped altogether. I’m convinced the devil indwells the details of toy assembly. Somewhere in perdition is a warehouse of stolen toy parts.

Some assembly required.” Not the most welcome sentence but an honest one. Life is a gift, albeit unassembled. The pieces of our lives don’t fit. When they don’t, take your problem to Jesus. He says, Bring your problems to Me!  In prayer, state them simply. Present them faithfully, and trust Him reverently!

Remember—we’re still a work in progress. God’s not finished with us yet.

Prayers Judged by an Olympic Panel?

If you’ve been watching the Olympics lately, especially the figure skating, you may have noticed the competitor is judged on their performance by a panel of judges. The judges render their decisions on how well the skater performed based on the skater’s style, ability and overall program.

Can you imagine our prayers being judged and graded by an Olympic panel? Pretty far-fetched thought isn’t it? Some of us, when we pray, feel like it’s important that we use the proper language, phrase or even the latest prayer trend because we think God is judging our prayers like an Olympic panel.

In Matthew 6:7 we have some guidance on the way we shouldn’t pray. It says, “Don’t ramble like heathens who talk a lot.” A more positive approach on praying is given by Jesus when the disciples asked Him how to pray. He gave them a prayer that we can use as our guide, which is found in Matthew 6:9-13. We all know this as the “Lord’s prayer.”

When you read the Lord’s prayer you will see that it is straight forward in its content and requests and doesn’t use a lot of flowery language. God is looking at our heart when we pray because it is from the heart that our motivations in life pour forth.

The next time you pray, remember, make your requests simple, straight forward, and from the heart. Then, relax in confidence knowing God has heard your prayers and will answer you according to His will for your life. Oh, and by the way, because you’ve taken the time to reach out and pray to the Father you’ve scored a 10!


We Can Trust God

God truly is faithful. In other words, we can count on Him to be and do exactly what He says. For instance, the Bible assures us that the Lord is trustworthy, loving, and incapable of failure (Psalm 37:5). Out of deep love for us, He’ll use any aspect of His multifaceted nature to provide exactly what He knows we need. He’s our Savior, Comforter, and Discipliner, who safely guides us through life’s changes and challenges.

No matter what hardships we face, we can trust God because He knows all things. He’s aware of the duration and intensity of our current season and uses His knowledge to offer us the best possible help and support. What’s more, the Lord is all-powerful, which means He is more than adequate to meet needs and change circumstances according to His plan. And our Father is everywhere, including right beside us in whatever we face. He promises, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).

Difficulties may cause us to question God’s dependability. But if we’ll place our trust in our omniscient, omnipotent Father, we can begin each morning with a fresh sense of His faithfulness, which will carry us through the day.


God’s Message To Us

Signs on the highway show us many different sorts of things. Speed limits. Animal crossings. How to find a rest stop or avoid a construction site. Similarly, all of creation is a sign communicating God’s message to us. He speaks to us through a full moon, waves crashing against rocks, or a vividly colored aspen tree. As we look upon the wonders of nature, something inside us resonates with the glory, power, love, and beauty of the Creator.

The Lord expresses His message in still another way that may initially be hard for us to comprehend as love: through the fall of man. You might wonder, If God loves us, then why would He let the first couple sin, spoiling the perfection they enjoyed in the garden and breaking the fellowship they had with Him?

The connection between God’s love and man’s sin is freedom. In giving Adam and Eve the option to obey or disobey, God demonstrated that He has not created us as robots, incapable of making choices. His love does not restrict our freedom to do right or wrong—even if that involves our saying “no” to the God who created us. However, having the freedom to choose means we will make mistakes and disobey the God who loves us.

But the wonderful news is that God expresses His love toward those who have rebelled against Him, through His gracious offer of salvation and forgiveness. Jesus Christ, who paid our sin debt on the cross, is the ultimate expression of divine love.


Where Does My Help Come From?

In today’s language if someone says they will watch out for you or protect you they’ve probably said it this way, “I’ve got your back.” In today’s terror filled environment hearing such a comment would give one a sense of ease. But, will that person always be there for you? Maybe, maybe not. For us today we have a living God who watches over us 24/7. Here’s what David said in the Psalms.

In Psalm 121 he said, “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?”  And David answers his own question, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip, He who watches over you will not slumber. The Lord watches over you. The Lord will keep you from all harm, He will watch over your life.”

God—your rescuer and protector, has the right vision.  He also has the right direction. He made the boldest claim in the history of man when He declared, “I am the way.”  People wondered if the claim was accurate. He answered their question by forging a path through the underbrush of sin and death—escaping alive. Maybe you need your hope restored.  If so, lift up your eyes.  Like David said, look unto the hills…look unto the One who made you and He will give you help.

In today’s language God is saying, “I’ve got your back 24/7. No need to worry anymore.”


Responding to Closed Doors

As believers, we want to follow God’s will for our life, but sometimes we don’t know which way to go. Perhaps we’re standing at a crossroads, wondering which pathway is the Lord’s. Or maybe after making good progress, we suddenly encounter a closed door. What are we to do when the path we want to travel is blocked?

The costs of disobedience are always higher than the benefits

Imagine yourself standing at one of these doors. First, you try the knob, but it won’t budge. So you pull out your keys and look for one that fits. When that fails, you call your friends to ask if they know how to open it. Finally, in frustration, you grab a crowbar and pry the door open. The problem with all these methods is that they won’t get you where the heavenly Father wants you to go.

King Saul found this out when he pried open a door the Lord had closed. He should have waited for Samuel, as only the priests were allowed to offer sacrifices. But Saul looked around at the circumstances, became frightened, and took matters into his own hands. Instead of standing at the door, trusting in the Lord, and waiting for Him to open it at the right time, Saul forced his way in, and as a result, lost his kingdom.

The costs of disobedience are always higher than the benefits of pushing through a closed door. If the Lord has sealed off an entry, it’s for your protection. The right response is to wait patiently and be faithful in your present situation. In time, He’ll either open the door or redirect you to the path that leads to His will.