email@example.com (Chad McComas)
|Photo: Valentina Jori
My dog is faithful. He is always glad to see me. He wags his tail and follows me around when I’m home. He seeks me out and sits by my feet. He is loyal to me as his owner. When I’m gone he sleeps, waiting for me to come back.
Is this an image of what it means to be faithful to God? We are waiting for Jesus to come back. If He were to come into our presence we’d be glad to see Him. We’d wag our tails and follow Him around. We’d sit by His feet. We’d be loyal to Him. But what are we doing while He is gone? Are we to sleep? Remember the ten virgins?
The image of a faithful dog doesn’t work for me. I can’t believe that Jesus wants us to sit around passive as a loyal, faithful dog until He comes back.
Is there an image that Jesus left us about being faithful? Yes! It’s found in the story of the “talents” in Matthew 25:14-30. It has one of my “life lines” in it. For me, a “life line” is a short phrase of what I want to live for. It motivates my life. The line is: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The master in the story spoke this to the servants who were faithful while he was gone on a long trip. When he came back he discovered that while he was gone the “good and faithful” servants had used the “talents” he had given them in a productive way so that his holdings increased.
There was nothing passive about these servants. They were not sleeping dogs. Rather, they were filled with life. They were risk takers. They were proactive and not reactive. They attacked life. They lived life with gusto. They focused on the possibilities they had and not all the reasons they couldn’t do it. They operated by faith and not by fear. They enjoyed life, living each day to the fullest until the master got home. They didn’t make excuses. They didn’t blame others for life being hard. They understood that the master had given them all they needed to be successful. Destiny was in their hands. Their attitudes made them good and faithful.They were filled with enthusiasm. They operated in joy. They made an impact and a difference. They pleased and honored their master.
But, there was one servant who didn’t produce. He was given the same opportunity. He was given resources. He was just as capable. He had the same amount of time. But, he feared life and he feared his master. He didn’t really long for him to come back. He expected his master to be hard on him so he acted out a scenario that assured it. He thought that if he just lived “safe” with no risks and no apparent failures then the master would be happy when he came back. He didn’t want to make waves. He didn’t want to be in the limelight. He’d just play it safe and give the master back his “talent” when he got home. Wrong choice!
In this parable the master wasn’t happy with the servant who tried to play it safe. He was pleased with the servants who were willing to take risks.
So, what about us today? Are we faithful? Are we using what God has given us to the greatest capacity? Are we risk takers? Are we living with gusto? Are we attacking life and taking the kingdom by force? Are we positive? Are we controlled by faith? Are we enthusiastic? Are we joyful? Are we making a difference in the world around us? If so, I think, no, I know, that Jesus is pleased. He can hardly wait to come back and tell us… “Well done, good and faithful servant(s)! 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)!
firstname.lastname@example.org (David Wolstenholm)
While in the Marine Corps, I spent some time in Africa conducting missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. We did the majority of our missions in the Sahara Desert where I noticed the locals were extremely poor. Most lived in tents made from camel hides and were able to move at a moment’s notice. The richer ones lived in stone houses, and there were a few that lived in tin houses.
I’m not exactly sure what they ate, but I assume they had some type of small agricultural system. There were a few goat herders so I suppose goat milk and goat meat was also part of their diet. As far as water goes, I saw one woman pulling it out of a muddy hole in the ground where a river used to flow.
During the first few weeks there, we put our trash in a large dumpster that was rented from the capitol city, located miles away. This turned out to be a problem though. The locals were so short on food they dug through our trash looking for scraps to eat. In the process of doing this, trash was scattered everywhere and disease would soon start spreading. A decision was then made to bury our trash so that wouldn’t be a problem.
One day, on the way out for a patrol, we drove by a small tribe of locals. Some were begging as we passed by and I decided on the way back I would throw them a box of food. Normally, I sit in the passenger’s seat of the Humvee commanding the vehicle. But on the way back, I wanted to be in the turret behind the gun so I could do this. As we neared them, I saw them begging again and that’s when I threw the box of food out. I can still hear that woman’s voice saying, “Merci, Merci!” Helping these people is one of the best feelings I have ever had.The Golden Rule
Jesus sums up the Old Testament by telling us, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). This is also known as the Golden Rule. If I was standing on the side of the road begging for food I would want someone to give me something to eat. This is why I did what I did.
In order to fully adhere to the Golden Rule we can’t be judgmental of others and their situation. Before Jesus mentions the Golden Rule He asks, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye” (Matthew 7:3)? If I was judging the locals for being poor I would have never given them some of my own food to eat.
I did this as a sinner before I knew Christ and His Word, so you know Jesus expects even more from believers. Are you living by the Golden Rule?