"Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant" Bible Meaning

Learn about the parable that this Bible phrase originates from and the wisdom we can gain from it. How can we be "good and faithful servants" of God?

Updated May 23, 2024
"Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant" Bible Meaning

"His Lord said to him, '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)

Learn about the parable that Matthew 25:23 comes out of and the wisdom we can gain from it. How can we be "good and faithful servants" of God?

'Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant': Table of Contents

Meaning of 'Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant'

Matthew 25:23 emphasizes the importance of faithful stewardship and the corresponding reward in the kingdom of heaven. It encourages believers to follow God with an expectation of an ultimate reward and participation in the joy of the Lord. 

This verse is associated with the concept of believers receiving commendation from God upon entering heaven. The imagery used by Jesus in this parable reflects the joy and reward awaiting those who have been faithful stewards of the resources, abilities, and opportunities entrusted to them by God during their earthly lives. It encourages us to live with a perspective on eternity, understanding that their actions on earth have lasting significance in the kingdom of heaven.

3 Ways to be a 'Good and Faithful Servant'

  1. Recognize Your Responsibility - "Before Jesus left and ascended into heaven, he left his disciples three commands: Preach the gospel, make disciples, get power from the Holy Spirit so you can preach the gospel and make disciples. These are the most important responsibilities of every Christian.
    You and I are tasked with being the light of Christ and sharing the gospel in our circles of influence. We are tasked with helping other believers grow in their walk, which is discipleship. We are also tasked with doing this not in our own strength but with the power of the Holy Spirit helping us. Some of us will have bigger circles of influence or larger bags of gold, but we are all given the same responsibility" (BibleStudyTools).

  2. Share the Gospel - The Bible teaches that God desires all people to come to repentance and be saved. In 1 Timothy 2:3-4 (NIV), it says, "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." Sharing the gospel aligns with God's passion for everyone to know and accept the gift of salvation. Jesus reinforces this purpose and tasks us with the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus instructs his disciples, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." This commission emphasizes the universal scope of the gospel message and the responsibility of believers to share it with others.

  3. Love God and Others - In Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV), Jesus provides a summary of the commandments: "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Here, Jesus elevates love to the highest priority, emphasizing a wholehearted and comprehensive love for God and a love for others through acts of kindness, compassion, and service.

    In John 13:34-35 (NIV), Jesus introduces a new commandment to His disciples: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another." This commandment emphasizes a self-sacrificial and agape love, modeling the love Jesus demonstrated through His life, death, and resurrection. The distinctive mark of a follower of Christ, according to Jesus, is the way we love others.

'Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant' Verses

This popular Bible phrase comes from the parable of the talents in which there are three servants who each receive a "talent," or sum of money, from their master.

This parable illustrates the use of gifts given by God. Even one talent was a great sum of money; here it represents the goodness God has bestowed on each person. The amount each receives is based on that person's abilities (Romans 12:4-8). God does not show partiality in the ultimate reward, for all are invited to share the same joy (Matthew 25:21-23).

"For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness." (Romans 12:4-8)

The third and lazy servant could not evade responsibility for ignoring his talent, for idleness is as much a rejection of God as outright wickedness. Burying the talent in the ground is an illustration of using one's God-given gifts for earthly pursuits. The bankers in verse 27 represent other faithful people to whom the man could have turned to help him use his talents wisely. Since help was available to him in the Church, the man had no excuse.

Parable of the Talents

Read the full Bible passage of Jesus giving the "Parable of the Talents" to His followers as a lesson of using the gifts from God in our life:

"For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.

Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' 

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' (Matthew 25:14-30)

Commentary on Matthew 25:23

The following is an excerpt from John Gill's Exposition of the Bible:

"well done good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord:"

Where the same commendation is made, and the same characters are given, as before; for a man that has lesser gifts, and is of less usefulness, maybe as good and as faithful in his service, and as praiseworthy, as a man of greater gifts, and more extensive usefulness; and the same happiness is bestowed on one, as the other, which in neither is of merit; but of grace; and whatever difference may be made between the saints, or between one minister and another in the Millennium state, yet in the ultimate glory, their joy, bliss, and happiness, will be alike. 

It is not to be established from this parable, that man has the power to improve the stock of sufficient grace given him, and by his improvement procure eternal happiness to himself; since such a stock of grace is not designed by the talents; nor is that either gotten or improved, by the industry of man; nor does the parable suggest, that men by their improvement of the talents committed to them, do, or can, procure eternal happiness: "good and faithful" servants are indeed honored by Christ, and he graciously promises great things to them, which are not proportioned to their deserts. 

For whereas they have been "faithful over a few things", he promises to make them "rulers over many things"; and bids them "enter into the joy of their Lord"; into the joy, which of his grace and goodness, he has provided for them, and not which they have merited and procured for themselves: nor is it to be inferred from hence, that true grace once given, or implanted, may be taken away or lost; for the parable speaks not of what is wrought in men, but of goods and talents bestowed on them, and committed to their trust; which may be lost or taken away, or be wrapped up in a napkin, and lie useless by them; when true grace is the incorruptible seed which never dies, but always remains; that good part which shall never be taken away nor lost, but is inseparably connected with eternal glory.

Bible Verses about Servanthood

"But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:26-28).

"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free" (Ephesians 6:7-8).

"The greatest among you shall be your servant" (Matthew 23:11).

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:5-7).

"Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all" (Mark 10:43-44).

"Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray" (Proverbs 10:17).

"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God" (Romans 1:1).

"But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work" (2 Chronicles 15:7).

Read more Parables of Jesus Christ

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