The annual awards ceremonies have just been held. These glitzy events are star-studded occasions: nominees are introduced; the winners are presented with an award. Most are joyful, but others are shocked. It celebrates what is excellent.
Jesus spoke about an award ceremony that knocks the spots off all that this world offers. An award awaits all His faithful followers. The faithful are identified by Jesus’ parables, helping us to think about the direction of our lives.
In Jesus’ parable of the talents a landowner is going on a long trip. He entrusts his property to his three servants with five, two and one ‘talents’ (a sum of money). The first two put the money to work and doubled his money. The master praised them and said: “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!” (Matt 25v21, 23). Every Christian longs to hear those words from Jesus’ lips one day in heaven. The third was so fearful that he buried it for safekeeping and returned it intact. The result was that he lost what he had and was thrown out into the darkness! The gospel message is to be received and put to work.
The Bible teaches us what we are saved from and what we are saved for. We are saved from our sins and judgement by His grace through faith (Eph 2v8-9); but that we are saved “to do good works” (Eph 2v10) that He has planned for us. He will reward His faithful servants whose faith has proved to be genuine.
If I know that forgiveness is based on what Jesus has done for me (that’s grace!), then some ways to serve the Lord include:
- Be a disciple that makes disciples, by teaching others about the way of salvation through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.
- Be good stewards of all that we have: “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?” (1 John 3v17).
- Practice forgiveness by humbly recognizing that only Jesus is perfect, not seeking vengeance and aiming to love our enemies just as Jesus did.
- Do what the Bible says: “We must obey God rather than man” (Acts 5v29).
On the Day of Judgement, those who are faithful to the Lord who saved them will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” No true servant of the Lord could ask for more.