Parable of Servants

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During my 11 year quest to know God, he gave me a parable about three servants.

The first servant sat under the shade of the oak tree waiting for the Master to tell him what to do. In speaking of this servant, the Lord said:

“For, behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things, for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.”

The second servant was eager to be about the Master’s errand and he hitched up the plow early in the morning and went out and plowed all day long. As it turns out, this servant had “zeal without knowledge.” In other words, he was anxious to be about the Master’s business, but did not know the Master’s will.

When the second servant reported to his Master about what a fine job he had done that day, the Master informed the servant that the field he had just plowed was already planted and the seeds were just getting ready to germinate and pop their heads up through the ground, and the servant in his zeal had just destroyed 40 acres of spring wheat.

In speaking of this servant, the Lord said:

“Ye are commanded in all things’ to ask of God, who giveth liberally, and that which the Spirit testifies unto you, even so I would that you should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or commandments of men: for some are of men and others of devils.”

The third servant goes to the Master and says, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” He then waits upon the Master for his answer and then promptly does exactly as he is told.

In speaking of this servant, the Lord said:

“Well done, my good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

It is easy to get involved in doing what we think is the Lord’s will, or do what some well-intentioned person or religious leader tells us the Lord wants us to do.

I spent a good deal of my life employed in what religious leaders told me was the Lord’s will, but when I began asking God what He wanted me to do, I gradually began to understand more of what really is his will and as I became more diligent in seeking the Lord’s will in my own personal life, I also came to “know” more about him.

Many who are zealously doing what they think God wants them to do are going to find themselves in the following boat:

“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven” Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, indeed you had great faith, but faith is not the key to the door of eternal life; knowledge of God is the key to this gate and because you never knew me: depart hence with the wicked.” Matthew 7:21-23

Christ knows us so intimately that not even a hair of our head falls to the ground without him taking notice, and since he cannot lie, he would never say “I never knew you”. In John 17:3 it says that life eternal is obtained by knowing God. Indeed, knowledge of God is the key that opens the gate to eternal life and that is why God will tell those who did not know him to depart, even though many of them had mighty faith.

We also see from the parable above that the “wise and faithful” servant came to know the Lord and the Lord’s will, by asking “Master, what wilt thou have me to do?”

We should take special note that the people who will say “Lord, Lord” were zealous servants. They had a lot of faith and they truly worked many miracles and cast out devils in the name of Jesus. The problem is, they didn’t “know” the Lord and they failed to ask his will in the “works” they performed.

Unless you “truly” know the Lord’s will in “every” thing you do, you will end up busily plowing fields and thinking that you are doing a great job. In fact, I personally know many people who run about with a great deal of “zeal” teaching about a God that they do not know.

Blind Men and the Elephant ~ John Godfrey Saxe, American poet (1816-1887)

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

It is easy to see the blindness in other people, but virtually impossible to recognize the blindness in oneself.

Although a bit humorous, it is also sad that this poem hits so close to home with virtually the entire human race. There are those who are so zealous in serving their God that they want to kill all others who don’t believe the same. In fact, more people have been killed in the name of God and religion than all other wars put together.

This morning I saw a tiny ant dragging a dead fly strait up the wall in my office. I thought to myself, “that little ant has a lot of zeal, but he doesn’t have the foggiest idea about what he is doing or where he is going.”

Actually, it was the ant that prompted me to write this chapter, or perhaps it was God that prompted the ant to drag the fly up the wall. I was after all asking God what he would have me do today, which also makes me believe that God will be prompting someone to read what I have just written. Perhaps that someone is you, and “to God be the glory for all of the great things he has done.”

“This is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3

We should ask God’s will in all that we do and then do our best to listen for the answer, because when we do, we are “wise” and “faithful” servants, and perhaps one of the fastest steps to “knowing” God is to ask to know his will for us each day.

It is okay to listen to the opinions of religious leaders, but ONLY when their words are “confirmed to you by the Holy Spirit”, should you do what they suggest you do! Only in this manner will you one day hear the Lord say:

“Well done, my good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will now make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of the Lord.”

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