The Scriptorium

The Foolish Servant

Fools lose. Matthew 25.24-30

Matthew 25: Wise and Foolish (4)

Pray Psalm 78.1-4.
Give ear, O my people, to my law;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

Sing Psalm 78.1-4.
(Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
Give ear, O my people, attend to my word,
dark sayings and parables sent from the Lord,
things we have before by our fathers been told,
which we would not dare from our children withhold.

Matthew 25.1-30; meditate on verses 24-30.

1. How did the Lord refer to the unfaithful servant?

2. What ultimately happened to the unfaithful servant? Why?

Turns out, the unfaithful servant wasn’t really a servant at all, except of himself (vv. 25, 30). His fear kept him from doing what he knew the Lord expected of him. When it came time for an accounting of his stewardship, he had nothing to show but what the Lord had entrusted to him.

Which is to say, he had nothing to show the Lord, but what was the Lord’s already. Jesus is looking for more than that.

This servant’s “talent” was given to the more fruitful servant, who would make good use of it in bringing honor to the master. Jesus says there’s a lesson here: If we’re faithful to develop what the Lord has given us for fruitful living, He’ll give us more (v. 29). As for the unfaithful servant, he is cast out, since he showed that he was not a servant at all.

The two parables that begin this chapter are important for what we learn from them about time and the use we make of it. Time will end one day, when the Lord of time returns to demand an accounting from all on whom He bestowed His precious gift of salvation and everything that goes with it. On that day we want to make certain that our lamps are lit and burning brightly, and to return to the Lord fruit refracting His glory in proportion to the investment He has made in us. For our lamps to be lit – for us to be the light He intends – we must maintain a constant supply of fuel. Jesus is the Light of the world; we only refract His light against whatever darkness we may enter at any moment in time. If we would shine brightly, we must be continually renewed in Jesus, through prayer, worship, meditation, and the encouragement of others. We must not neglect this fuel but be always supplying it to our souls.

At the same time, we must be diligent to invest all the resources and opportunities of the time of our lives in ways that bring the glory of God to light. It is important that we practice good stewardship at all times so that nothing is lost, and everything increases and redounds to the glory of God.

Where the first parable addresses the stewardship of our souls, the second addresses the stewardship of our works. Keep in mind Whose you are. Know what you have been given. Watch continuously for the Lord, seeking His promises, Presence, and power. Offer everything you are, have, and do to Him as a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Thus you may expect to hear His “Well done” when time is no more.

1. Why was this servant cast into outer darkness? What’s the lesson in this?

2. How should we apply the lesson of verse 29?

3. How can believers encourage one another in their stewardship of the Lord’s light and gifts?

Let us note also where that good and faithful servant is going who was faithful in the little things of this life. “Enter into the joy of your master,” he is told. Every delight and every joy will be there when those who weep here below will be merry hereafter and those who righteously mourn will receive a worthy consolation. He says this in effect both to the one “who had received the five talents” and to the one “who had received the two.” He says, “Enter.”
Origen (185-254), Commentary on Matthew 67

Strengthen the light in me, Lord, and help me to use my talents wisely today as I…

Pray Psalm 78.4-16.
God has entrusted us with the Gospel of His Kingdom. Ask Him to help you to be faithful in planting that seed and investing that talent for His glory today.

Sing Psalm 78.4-16.
Psalm 78.4-16 (Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
The glorious deeds of our God in His might,
and all of the works He has done in our sight,
together with all of the words of His Law,
would we on ourselves and our children bestow.

Lord, let all our children arise and declare
the truth of the Lord every day, everywhere,
and set all their hopes in God’s wonderful Word,
and never forget all the works of the Lord.

Our fathers were stubborn; they would not obey;
when faced with their foes they in fear turned away.
God’s work of redemption they wholly despised,
forgetting the pow’r He had shown to their eyes.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore