The Committed Servant

By Alan H. Crosby

The Lord Jesus illustrated the commitment of servants by two parables: the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 and the parable of the minas (“pounds” KJV) in Luke 19:11-27. They differ in one most important respect. The talents were given to “each according to his ability” but the minas were just given one to each. They were all expected to put to work what they had received, and their reward was based on the profitability of their service. We differ in our abilities and therefore will differ in the talents – the spiritual gifts we are given. But we all have one mina, our life, to put to work for the Lord.

How Shall We Serve? 
We are not to do as the young man did who left home and “squandered his wealth in wild living” (Lk. 15:11-31 NIV). But if we have, we should do as he did: repent and come back. His father received him as though he had never transgressed. This shows that it is never too late, as long as we have breath, to come to God and be fully accepted.

Scripture says that the way to serve the Lord is to “pursue righteousness and love” (Prov. 21:21).

Young Christians Need Help 
Young people are practically all characterized by one trait – they want to be doing things with their friends, who are chosen from among those by whom they are surrounded. If their friends are worldly, they will be worldly; if their friends are believers actively serving the Lord, they will tend to be doing things profitable for Him. Parents and the church (assembly) have a responsibility to help young Christians have Christian friends, have clean fun and do profitable service for the Lord.

However, there are always those like the young man in our Lord’s story who want to go to a place where they can “have a good time” and “do their own thing.” They may then have to find out for themselves that “living it up” is an unwise, profitless choice.

Choosing A Vocation 
A question commonly asked of a child is: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Their decision as they mature is most important because it will structure his or her life. The crucial question then is not “What do I want to do?” but, as asked by Saul (Paul) at his conversion, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10). When we do what the Lord wants us to do, we will be doing the Lord’s work!

Timothy was told, “If a man cleanses himself … he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work” (2 Tim. 2:21). May the vocation that is chosen be the one that allows us, as Scripture says, to “do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:10).

Service Profitable For The Lord 
Going into “full-time service” is only one way to serve profitably. But it will be profitable for the Lord only if that is the place He wants that Christian to serve. He may want the person to have a career and witness in it to his or her associates. In Scripture, one man eager to serve the Lord was told to go back home and tell how much the Lord had done for Him (See Mark 5:19-20).

People asked the prophet John (the Baptist) about their vocation and producing good fruit for the Lord (See Luke 3:8-18). Those who asked he instructed to keep their jobs – jobs that were commonly available at that time – but with the qualification that they should avoid misusing them. John did not forbid any job, including serving as soldiers. However, Scripture says, “Whatever you do … do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17). Each person is to determine the Lord’s will for him or her regarding a vocation and then do it.

Discovering The Lord’s Will 
Only indirect answers are provided by Scripture to the question, “How do I determine the Lord’s will?” A wise plan would be to follow the example of Paul and his companions in Acts 16:6-10. They knew that in general it was His will that they “go and make disciples” (Mt. 28:19). So they arbitrarily decided to go into Phyrygia and Galatia, but “they were kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia” (where these regions were located). Then they “tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” Finally, Paul was given a vision from which he concluded that they were being called to preach the gospel in Macedonia. The result was that the gospel did not remain in Asia, but it was taken into Europe. In short, like Paul and his companions we need to follow what is generally His will and then trust Him to show us the particulars. Furthermore “each … should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Pet. 4:10).

In whatever field a job is taken, “serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord” (Eph. 6:7). Those who do this will generally be considered to be good workers, suitable for promotion. Top people are always looking for workers to whom they can delegate responsibility. The worker who is a Christian should be energetic and trustworthy. However, if our ambition is to obtain power and prestige for ourselves rather than to produce for the Lord, it is misdirected.

The Devil’s Trap 
Our employment will generally be in jobs that help people to meet their needs. However, there are occupations in which we can make “good money” by helping others to fulfill their sinful desires. These occupations can be Satan’s trap for us. He would have us “sell out” to him and serve his purposes. 

Another trap is to yield to an employer’s demand that one do wrong things to “get ahead.” The trap often lies in doing something that is just “a little bit wrong,” but it will lead to activities that will be very destructive to one’s walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Satan has lures other than advancement. He stimulates us “to find out for ourselves” the satisfying way of life instead of simply obeying Scripture. Solomon is a typical example. He tried everything and recorded his experience in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He tried pleasure, alcohol, great projects, acquiring property and having a harem of many women (2:1-10). His conclusion from his experience was that “everything was meaningless, a chasing after wind: [and] nothing was gained” (2:11). His advice is: “Fear God and keep His commandments” (12:13). This means submitting your life to the Lord and seeking to make it please Him rather than yourself.

The Way Of The Committed Servant 
The Psalmist advises us to commit our lives to the Lord. He says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good … Fear the Lord you His saints for those who fear Him lack nothing … Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days [will] keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Ps. 34:8-14).

Living For Jesus
Living for Jesus a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.

Living for Jesus who died in my place,
Bearing on Calvary my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading and give Him my all.

Living for Jesus wherever I am,
Doing each duty in His holy name;
Willing to suffer affliction and loss,
Deeming each trial a part of my cross.

Living for Jesus through earth’s little while,
My dearest treasure, the light of His smile;
Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.
—Thomas Obediah Chisholm (1866-1960)