THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
THE MASTER’S RETURN
Today’s gospel: Matthew 24:42-51
The Lord Jesus will return. Indeed, we are already in the
end times. But we do not know when he will return (v.42b).
“So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you
do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” (v.44). So
we need to “stay awake” (v.42a). We need to be
vigilant and faithful to our task, each and every day, each
and every hour.
are all servants of Jesus, our Master. “Who, then, is
the faithful and prudent servant” (v.45a)? First, he
it is “whom the master has put in charge of his household
to distribute to them their food at the proper time”
(v.45b). The servant is one who faithfully performs his assigned
task. For servant leaders in particular, the Lord has assigned
them to care for his people. They stand in his place. They
do for his people what he himself would have done for them.
a servant does not tire of vigilance and faithful work. He
does not say to himself, “My master is long delayed”
(v.48), and proceeds to slack off or neglect his work. He
is always conscious of the enemy and does not begin “to
beat his fellow servants” (v.49a). Oftentimes, when
we lose sight of the spiritual war we are engaged in, and
of the one enemy we have, we end up tearing at each other.
When we lose focus on the work, we focus on each other, and
so we gossip, we criticize, we malign, we form factions. Some,
no longer focused on the mission, become engaged in and ultimately
enamored with the world. They begin to “eat and drink
with drunkards” (v.49b). They eventually give up their
work and even fall away.
Now everyone will be taken to task when the Lord returns.
But this will be especially true for servant leaders. If we
are found faithfully doing God’s work, then “blessed
is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing
so.” (v.46). But if not, the master “will punish
him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where
there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” (v.51).
Why such a harsh punishment? Well, because God relied on them
to do His work and to care for His people. This is their responsibility
and privilege. If they do not, then God’s house is broken
into, then God’s people are not fed, then many for whom
Jesus has already won salvation will be lost.
So “the servant’s master will come at an unexpected
day and at an unknown hour” (v.50). You have been warned.
“Therefore, stay awake!”