Previously, we looked at the marks of a good servant. Today, we will consider the mistakes of a bad servant. If Jesus came today, what kind of servant would He find you to be?
THE MISTAKES OF A BAD SERVANT
In the parable, there was another servant who was left in charge to manage some of the Master’s resources, but he makes a terrible miscalculation. In verse 45, the servant says, “My master is taking a long time in coming.” Sometimes Christian servants make the same mistake as well. They act as if Jesus isn’t returning soon.
Some people who claim to be Christians aren’t living lives that are pleasing to the Lord. They act as if this life is all there is. When you tell them Jesus is going to return and they’d better get ready, they just laugh it off. They say, “Live it up! Just have fun, this life is all there is!” That’s bad advice to follow! There are three things in this text that give away the marks of a bad servant:
1. He Hurts Others
This servant began to beat and mistreat the other servants. There’s always someone out there waiting to beat up on you. Two boys were arguing in the school playground. One of them said, “My dad can beat up your dad!” The other kid said, “Big deal. My MOM can beat up my dad!”
A true servant cares about the needs and feelings of others, but a bad servant thinks only about himself. There are some people who go through life leaving a trail of bloody relationships behind them. They make bad decisions and it ends up hurting many other folks. If you believe Jesus could return at any moment, you will treat others with kindness. But if you think He’s not coming back, you won’t have the same regard and care for others.
2. He Hurts Self
Verse 45 says the bad servant ate, drank, and even got drunk. Now, there’s nothing wrong with eating, but the word here infers that he overate. He was a glutton. He had no personal discipline and no self-control. He abused his body by overeating and getting drunk. It’s a sad picture of a lazy, undisciplined servant who does things harmful to his own body.
Sometimes, you’ll hear someone say something brilliant like, “Well, it’s my body. I can do with it what I desire! If I want to do drugs or get drunk that’s MY choice because it’s MY body!” Wrong. If you claim to be a Christian, your body belongs to God. Paul wrote, “Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
3. He Forgets There Will Be a Payday–Someday
Just picture that lazy, abusive servant sitting around drunk, having a great time. Suddenly and unexpectedly the Master returns. What a shock! Look at verse 46. Jesus said the Master would take immediate action. He would “cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.” A lot of people who claim to know Jesus and claim to be His servant are really deceiving themselves. Even though they have a job within the Master’s house, their behavior gives them away. They aren’t true servants or true believers. They think everything is fine, until it’s time for a true accounting. There will be a payday–someday.
You may be cruising along in your life thinking everything is fine, but one day the Expert Accountant will judge every one of us. You may be able to fool people, but you can’t fool God. You will be held accountable before God. Are you incredibly nervous about facing a Holy God who does not tolerate sin, but is full of mercy and forgiveness?
There are two lessons we can learn from what Jesus said in verses 47 and 48:
a) Direct Disobedience Receives the Harshest Punishment
Jesus said the servant who had been informed of the Master’s will and refused to obey would be beaten with many blows. The principle is simple: the more truth you have been exposed to the greater your responsibility to obey that truth.
But what about the servant who didn’t know what he was supposed to do? Would he be excused? No. He would be punished, too, but with fewer blows. The principle can be stated this way:
b) Ignorance is No Excuse!
Suppose you are stopped by a policeman and informed you were going 55 in a 25 mph zone. You could say, “But officer, I didn’t know this was a 25 mph speed zone, I never saw the sign.” Is he going to say, “Oh, then that’s okay, no problem, just take it easy?” Don’t bet on it. He’ll more likely say, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” God is the same way.
Jesus is coming back. Are you ready to meet Him? Are you a wise, faithful servant? Or are you disobeying the Master? Maybe, you think you will stand before God and plead ignorance saying, “But God, I didn’t know I had to turn from my sins and put my faith in Jesus!”
Here’s His message to you today: the more you’ve been given the more God expects of you! You’ve been blessed with the truth of God’s Word, so He expects you to obey. God has given you many opportunities to follow Him. Are you being obedient to the truth you’ve received? Are you ready for Jesus to return?