The heart of the servant is what God looks at. Being encouraged to do God’s will is not always what we want to hear. We want Him to support us doing OUR will.
41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” 42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. 47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” ~ Luke 12:41-48(NIV)
“The Heart of a Servant” would have been a good title for this post. Jesus declared Himself to be a “Servant of the Father” many times in scripture. What was His heart? Plainly, He loved us so much that He gave ALL on the cross for us. Christ took our severe punishment (death) which we deserve even though He was blameless. He was the One who has given much. Therefore, since believers are to be like Him, much will be required of His followers.
Jesus is teaching in Luke 12:41-48 that there are basically three groups of servants and how a master dealt with each group:
- Faithful, sensible servants – rewarded
- Unfaithful, disobedient servants – received severe punishment
- Innocently disobedient servants – received light punishment
Group One: The faithful obedient servants – This is the group that all Christians believe (or hope) they have membership in. Group One will inherit God’s kingdom, but Jesus also reveals that it does not come without cost (verse 48b). It’s called taking up our cross and following Him. The cross of every believer is to be the same as His cross. Men will always exact a heavy penalty for those who they consider to be against the establishment. The world will scoff, ridicule and persecute every believer who is dedicated to being a servant of the Father (like Jesus). Verses 43 and 44 are the scriptures that all believers love to hear, though; the ones that mention reward for faithful service. Jesus gives a detailed description of Group One, represented by the churches of Smyrna (Rev. 2:8-11) and Philadelphia (Rev. 3:8-12). The church of Smyrna is the poor, but spiritually rich church, to which Jesus promises He will give the crown of life. The church of Philadelphia is known as the church that is loyal to Christ; the church that perseveres and is watchful for His coming. Jesus promises the church of Philadelphia not only a crown of life, but for overcomers, a pillar in the temple of God and a permanent home in the temple of God; that the name of God, the new name of Christ, a brand new name for the church, and a new name for the New Jerusalem, will all be written upon them. Group One is the group Jesus loves to love.
Group Two: The unfaithful disobedient servants – The master cuts them to ribbons and then banishes them from His kingdom as unbelievers! Harsh? That is what Jesus said they deserved. “Wouldn’t it be fair to just let us repent and forgive us?” cries Group Two. It is the saddest thing to contemplate, but God knows the heart. Evidently, Group Two does not have loyalty to the master or the heart of a servant.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” ~ James 1:22 NIV
Group Three: The innocently disobedient servants – This group could possibly be servants that Group Two influenced, trained, or misled. They may not be doers of the Word simply because they don’t know what the Word says. Maybe they never read it. Or, they may have fallen prey to false teaching, immorality, or idolatry. Skeptical? A better description of Group Three is given by Jesus in His message to the seven churches found in the Book of Revelation chapters 2-3. The other five churches besides Smyrna and Philadelphia are listed:
- Church of Ephesus – Fundamental Doctrine, but lacking Love
- Church of Church of Pergamos – False Doctrine, immorality
- Church of Thyatira – Allowed a False Prophetess to teach
- Church of Sardis – Dead works
- Church of Laodicea – Lukewarm
“Weren’t we just carnal Christians or backsliders?” asks Group Three. Jesus encourages Group Three to repent and be overcomers.
Page 130 of Dad’s Bible contains Christ’s instructional encouragement to believers. Instructional encouragement is based on “here is the truth. These are your options and there are consequences – you choose”.
The “take-away” for this writer in layman’s language is:
Jesus lovingly instructed Group One, “Great job! Keep doing what you are doing. I will be back soon. Hold down the fort until I come. If you need help, I left more instructions in My Word. Send me messages for guidance. I will answer. Stand strong, don’t give up, and you will be rewarded.”
Jesus banished Group Two with “Depart from Me! I never knew you!”
Jesus praised Group Three, “I know you thought you were serving me, but you have made some mistakes, and have been suffering the consequences of your bad decisions. Now that you are aware, turn back to me and I will forgive you. Don’t be discouraged. Study My Word, and share it with others; persevere, and I will bring your reward with me when I come back.”
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” ~ Rev 3:19 (NIV)
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” ~ Rev. 22:12 (NIV)
Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
The next posting Encouragement – “See pg 397” will be coming out soon, Lord willing. Don’t miss it by following ImportantStuff.live!
Here is a link to a brief commentary from LifeHope &Truth that highlights the encouragements that Jesus gave to each of the Seven Churches of Revelation .