His master replied, “Well done,
good and faithful servant.”
On two occasions our Lord spoke of the Master commending His servants. One of these is in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25) and the other is in Luke 19. (The parable of the minas). In both cases, it was a view of the future when each of us will stand before our Lord. II Corinthians 5:10 also speaks of this time. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” This judgment seat (Bema) is a seat of rewards, not condemnation, our condemnation already being taken by Christ. (II Corinthians 5:21-”For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”) In these six words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” we are given instruction in regard to what our Lord will find commendable in our lives on that day.
The first word which is arresting is simply the word “good.” Our casual view of this word robs it of its scriptural significance defined by our Lord’s own words in Mark 10:18. “‘Why do you call me good,‘ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good-except God alone.’” Jesus statement was designed to bring the rich young ruler to the realization of the Deity of Christ. We see, then, that goodness is Godliness, and comes only from God Himself. To be recognized by our Lord as “good” implies the presence of the character of Christ Himself. No other source of goodness is available to mankind. By God’s grace, He has made the life of Christ available to us. Galatians 2:20 states “I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”… and also in Colossians 3:3-4, “For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”
The second word which demands attention is the word faithful. This has also been translated as reliable and implies dependability or trustworthiness. I Corinthians 4:2 states “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” Ephesians 2:10 tells us “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” THe Lord has prepared us individually for His work. He has prepared His work for us, and the Holy Spirit has given us His gifts. Unless we use His gifts to accomplish His work, we are not faithful servants.
The third phrase in the commendation is “well done.” This refers not to the quantity of work, but to its quality. It is all too easy to be burdened with many things, even good things, even spiritual work; so that the mere quantity of worthwhile thing to do may lessen the quality of our work. In I Corinthians 3:12-13 we read the following. “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.” One of the verses that I particularly find convicting is Colossians 3:23. “ And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Would the quality of our work be different if we were personally interacting with the Lord in all we do? If the answer is yes, then we have not fully realized that our ministry or work with others is, in fact, a ministry to and interaction with the Lord.
We all look forward to that day when we see our Lord face to face. Our desire is to hear these words, repeated in the New Testament in these parables, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” To that end we must be abiding in Him, for unless we are dependent upon His presence, His power, and His purpose, our efforts are as nothing. This demands continual fellowship with Him in which His resources are given to us to meet our responsibilities, and in which our resources are available to Him to meet His responsibilities. As He makes known to us what He would have us to do, whether prayer, an act of service, a gift, or the direction to speak His word; then let us be faithful. Let us say as the psalmist. “I hasten to do your will, O Lord.” And as we do His work in His strength; let us remember that we are actually serving Him as we serve others, so that when the fire tests the quality of our work, it will be seen to have been built with gold, silver and costly stones rather than wood, hay or straw. Then we shall be confident on that day as we look forward to His voice, “Well done good and faithful servant.”