45Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (The King James Version, 1769)
In this example Jesus is talking about an earthly ruler. It has direct application to his kingdom as well. Show the earthly to glimpse the spiritual.
The first example that Jesus talks about is the faithful servant. He is given authority to rule over his master's household. The most important responsibility is to ensure that the people in the house are fed. Simple enough, isn't it? Yet if he fails in his duty everyone goes hungry. No one has the strength to do the job they are required to do. The young ones do not grow up healthy and strong. The "house" is weakened. It may fall on its own or if attacked will not be able to stand. Feeding the household is not the only task that will have to be done... but it is the most important.
So, the master returns to his home and finds that everyone is fit and doing the work that is required of them. He looks at the young ones and finds them healthy, strong and growing. You can imagine that the master of the house would be pleased that everything is working out. He knows that the servant he put in charge has done a good job. If the servant can do this task well then the master can trust him with even more responsibility. In this case the servant is raised up to be head of everything: the home, the business and the accumulated wealth.
First, there are the apostles who are appointed over the house of God, the church, the body of Christ. From there more appointments flow: prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers. Elders are appointed and deacons are appointed. A structure and a hierarchy are established over time. Hopefully each appointment is in accordance with God's will.
Let us look at the local house of worship, the church group that you attend. A pastor has been appointed or elected to watch over the people gathered in this location. There are a lot of things that pastors can do. There are a lot of responsibilities they can take on. In some churches they are thrust upon them. But what does God require at their hands? It is the same task that Jesus gave to Peter... "feed my sheep." This is the primary ministry. If nothing else can be done, this is the task that must be accomplished. Without it the church body withers and dies. Without it they cannot stand when the enemy or our souls, or those who belong to the enemy, attack the church. If pastors make sure they fulfill their primary mandate, then the body will be strong... even if the members of the flock lose their lives as a witness. They will have received "the crown of life." If pastors do their duty, feed the sheep the word of God, they will be raised to rule and reign over all that God has when Jesus hands out the rewards.
So a master is going to leave his home and go abroad. He takes one of his servants and places him in charge to give meat to the household in due season. Sound familiar? Yet this servant has a different heart. He isn't selfless but selfish. He starts off doing the job well enough. He has to. His master can return any moment. Time passes and the master hasn't returned. "Perhaps I can do whatever I want," he thinks to himself. It is then that he does what is in his heart. He begins to neglect his duty. Perhaps the members of the household are fed... but with what? The servants go hungry and find it hard to do their jobs. The children go hungry and they become sickly and grow weaker. Still wanting things to increase this evil servant begins to beat the other servants. He compels them to go beyond their ability to perform. What hand does this evil servant do himself? He walks off and goes eat and drink with the "in crowd." Being drunk reduces his own capabilities until everything fails.
Oh, and then his master shows up out of the blue. Can you imagine what would go through the mind of his master? The servants are bruised and broken and unable to do anything worthwhile. The young ones are sickly and dying. Dare I say, that master will be filled with righteous anger? He immediately cuts the servant off, even as a member of his household, and tosses the servant to the other wolves. In that dog eats dog world (wolf eats wolf?) the evil servant struggles and suffers on his own.
It starts out the same as the faithful servant example. Someone is appointed/elected as pastor of a church. Yet from the outset their heart is not right with God. They go through the motions of feeding the church members. What they are being fed does not pertain to what they need to receive. It may be hard to believe but these types of pastors abuse their flock. What is important to them is "the show," getting the flock to perform. Any trick, any pressure, any threat is justified because of "the work." Yet the show doesn't advance the kingdom. Without being fed the word of God for today they miss the true path they should be walking. What they are being taught is a philosophy devoid of the Spirit. Without the Spirit there is no growth, but there is a slow decay, as the light of God dims, and the flock walks in darkness. Some of the abused leave the church. Others leave the faith. And those that remain? They are about to die spiritually!
Is it necessary to reveal what lies ahead for this so called servant of God? Do you not think that Jesus sees all that is occurring? We can only hope that the Lord will intervene and remove this evil person from authority over his church. That he will cut him off and throw him to the wolves. And sometimes that is what Jesus will do. At other times those above this man will do the removing. Perhaps the congregation will rise up and remove him. And sadly, sometimes, the wolf stays where he is and the flock is decimated. One example, and this is extreme, is Jim Jones and the suicide pact his flock acted out, some by force, leaving almost all dead in the jungles of Guyana. Know this... whether any action is taken in the here and now... God's judgement rests firmly on these wolves. At the coming of our Lord to rule and reign, this servant will be taken from the sheep, and added to the goats. Their just reward... weeping and gnashing of teeth. A lake of fire burns somewhere and it is hungry for the haters of God and the abusers of his people.
All of us should take a cautionary note. Almost all of us are responsible for feeding someone else. There are pastors and teachers, parents and mentors, etc. Each of us is responsible in our own sphere of influence to see that those entrusted to us are fed the word of God in due season. I do hope, in that smaller scale, you too will be found to be faithful servants... and receive your just reward.
Webite administrator: Joseph A Raymond
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada