Bible Reading: Matthew 25:1-46
I want to begin this morning with two remarkable proverbs about faithfulness found in God’s Word. The first is, “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?” [Proverbs 20:6], and the second “A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished”.
[Proverbs 28:20]. Faithfulness ultimately is of more value than riches!
It is recorded in Matthew chapter 24 that the disciples of Jesus asked him about the signs of His second coming and the end of the age, and the remainder of that chapter is the record of Jesus’ answer. However, the next chapter in Matthew is not unrelated to the previous chapter, because Jesus then tells His disciples what their response should be to the signs of the end of the age, and it is summed up in one word – FAITHFULNESS!
Jesus said that we should be faithfully prepared for His coming [Matthew 25:1-13]. To illustrate this He told the parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins. All ten were waiting for the Bridegroom. The Bridegroom is a picture of Jesus. Sadly, only five had enough oil in their lamps and were still there waiting patiently for His coming. The five foolish virgins were unprepared and missed His coming.
Jesus said that we should be faithfully serving Him with the gifts that He has given us [Matthew 25:14-29]. To illustrate this He told the parable of the talents. Two of the men to whom He gave gifts developed them and made use of them, but one man buried his gift in the ground. When the Master returned he rewarded those who had used his gifts properly, but cast into outer darkness. The issue here is faithfulness. He said to the two men who had faithfully used the gifts he had given them, “Well done, good and faithful servant” [Matthew 25:21,23].
Jesus said that we should be faithfully caring for those who are poor and needy [Matthew 25:31-46]. Those who fed the hungry, gave a drink to the thirsty, gave hospitality to the stranger, clothed the naked, and visited those who were sick and in prison, were rewarded. But those who did not care about the poor and needy were sent away into everlasting punishment.
I cannot help but notice that faithfulness is active and not passive in these three stories – actively prepared, actively using our God-given gifts, and actively caring for others.
No one knows exactly when Jesus is returning but if it was today would you be prepared and ready?
Are you faithfully using to the best of your ability the particular gifts and abilities that God has given to you?
Compare Matthew 25:31-46 with Isaiah 58:1-14. What are the special promises that God gives to those who care for and help others?