This is Not Optional
Matthew 25:23 Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
During my second year of residency, my wife and I were on a flight when a woman behind us began having chest pain. I was technically a physician but my paper-thin license and shaky voice did not inspire confidence in anyone. Nevertheless, I spoke with and examined her as best I could. With no diagnostic or treatment capabilities, my inexperienced hands were tied. I asked the pilots to divert to the nearest airport so we could get her to a hospital.
While this was going on, my wife moved to another seat where she was engaged in conversation by a man who turned out to be a cardiologist. She informed him of the situation and he kindly declined involvement. When I later found out, I was unimpressed. He may have had ten times my knowledge and skill but in his apathy, he was useless.
As frustrated as I was with this man’s indifference, I know that I too have spent much of my life sitting back, watching opportunities pass me by. Jesus, in this passage, told a parable of such apathy. He told of man and his three servants, each of whom he trusted with a portion of his money. Two of them used their money to produce more but one man hid his money in the ground for safekeeping.
When the master returned, he praised the two who had been fruitful with the money. Well done, good and faithful servant. His words were less kind to the one who had refused to use what had been entrusted to him. You wicked and slothful servant… Cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness.
It seems that my obedience to God, to use that which He has given me, is not optional. I have many excuses. I am too busy. I am not a super-Christian or minister. My own life is such a mess. I can recall a time in my life when I was completely unwilling to follow God. That was, not coincidentally, the time of my greatest destruction and failure. In the devastation of following self, I could not follow God and I paid the price.
As Christ’s body here on earth, it is my duty to follow him. I am to love God and those around me. I am to tell them of what He has done for me. This is not the kind of thing I get to refuse. I am not saying God needs me. My refusal to obey God may not thwart his will in the lives of others, but it thwarts his will in mine. In Jesus’ parable, the one who refused his calling was, in the end, cast out.
If I claim to follow God, I need to follow. I cannot be his servant without serving him. At the end of my life, I wish to hear God say, Well done, good and faithful servant. I do not want to look back on my life and lament my wasted days. I want to use that which He has given me for his purpose.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.