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 this Bible phrase originates from and the wisdom we can gain from it. How can we be "good and faithful servants" of God?
Bible Context of the Good and Faithful Servant
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)
Bible Meaning of Matthew 25:23
The following is commentary from John Gill's Exposition of the Bible:
'His Lord said unto him,"
The same words as he did to the other servant.
"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.
Read more Parables of Jesus Christ
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