How can you know if you’re being a good and faithful servant? Jesus tells us how we can know.
Faithful in Little
Jesus once said, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (Luke 16:10), so what did He mean by it? One man who was hired by a bank many years ago, and the man was asked to do a “small favor” (really, a dishonest deed) for the bank, but the man said, “If you want me to steal a little bit from the customers, how do you know I won’t steal from the bank?” The man had an excellent point, and I think that’s Jesus’ point too. If you or I cannot be faithful in the small things, then we won’t be honest in big things. Another true story recounts a newly hired man who was in the lunch line at the company cafeteria, and as chance would have it, he was just ahead of the CEO, but when the CEO saw the man slide a 3 cent patty of butter under his dinner role, the CEO realized, they had hired the wrong man. If he wasn’t going to be honest enough to pay for a 3 cent patty of butter, he certainly couldn’t be trusted with more. Are you faithful in the little things? If not, how can Christ expect you to be faithful in the big things?
Keeping His Word
If we’re being faithful to Jesus, this means we’re being faithful to His Word, meaning we are obeying His word. He says, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23). The proof of loving Jesus is doing what He says. No, none of us do it perfectly, but we are motivated by love to obey Him. Jesus sums it up: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). It’s good to keep His word because, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15:10). You can’t say you love Jesus and continually disobey Him. That’s makes no sense for a child of God.
Doing His Will
I think we can understand that Jesus and the Father’s will are one and the same….they always agree perfectly in everything, including the will of the Holy Spirit, so we know that the Father’s will is Jesus’ will, and that Jesus always did the will of the Father, so Jesus has some joyous news for those of us who do the will of the Father: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matt 12:50). Wow! How about that!? If you are faithful to Jesus’ teachings, then you are actually being faithful to the Father’s will because they’re the same. They agree on everything. If we do what Jesus commands, we are doing the will of God. Whoever does God’s will is going to be blessed by God, but also they will be full of joy, knowing they are doing their Master’s will. Whatever we do for Jesus, we are doing for the Father, and the other way around.
Not Denying His Name
If you are a faithful servant of Christ, you cannot help but speak about Christ. It’s like what the Apostle Peter said; “for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20), and the Apostle Paul saying, “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel” (1st Cor 9:16b)! Jesus puts it a bit more bluntly; “whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 10:33), so the way Jesus sees it, “whoever denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12:9). One of the key verses in all the Bible that identifies those who are not Christ’s are the many who say, “Lord, Lord,” but the same “many” who Jesus tells, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:23). That’s as serious as it gets on the day of Jesus return. It’s not about saying, “We know Jesus,” but the question with eternal implications is, “Does Jesus know you?” Not denying Him means we must not be silent about Him, because if those we work with or live around don’t even know we’re a Christian, perhaps because we don’t act much like Christ, then it might be time to examine ourselves to see if we are indeed in the faith (1st Cor 11:28). It’s something everyone should do.
The first verse I used, where Jesus said, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much” (Luke 16:10), is where Jesus had just spoke the Parable of the Dishonest Manager (Luke 16:1-9), and He is telling is, if we are faithful in the small things, He can trust us in the big things. He continues, “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own” (Luke 16:11-12). The truth is, everything we have is from God. Try to think of something that’s not from God (1st Cor 4:7). We are all simply stewards of what God has given us and He expects us to be faithful with what we’ve been given, whether little or much. If we are not faithful with the little God has given us, how can He trust us with the bigger responsibilities in the kingdom?
Jesus Christ was faithful to the end, and He expects us to be faithful too. Perhaps not to the point of death, but faithful in the little that we have, but also in keeping His word wherever we go and whatever we do; doing His will and not denying His name before others because we are all only stewards, really owning nothing at all. It is all from God and so to God we owe it all, therefore it is our duty to be a good and faithful servant, and if we are, we too will hear these precious words from our Lord: “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” (Matt 25:23). And can you imagine the joy that will be?