Servant’s Care of the Master’s Goods
1, 2. How has the faithful servant looked after the “goods”?
WHY are all the Master’s “goods” placed in the care of the “faithful and wise servant”? It is because he would look after them well. Just as the servant in the parable would see that everything was in a good state of repair, lands cultivated, good storage, plenty of fruit, vegetables and grain, members well clothed, so it has been today with this approved servant class, with the Kingdom interests. The household of the Master is well fed and equipped. The “servant” sees that the commandments of God and Christ Jesus are carried out, some of which are: “And in that day shall ye say, Give thanks unto Jehovah, call upon his name, declare his doings among the peoples, make mention that his name is exalted.” (Isa. 12:4, Am. Stan. Ver.) “Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! The voice of thy watchmen! they lift up the voice, together do they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when Jehovah returneth to Zion.” (Isa. 52:6-8, Am. Stan. Ver.) “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no saviour.” (Isa. 43:10, 11, Am. Stan. Ver.) “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14, Am. Stan. Ver.) “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.” (Matt. 28:19, Am. Stan. Ver.) “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thy hand.”—Ezek. 3:17, 18, Am. Stan. Ver. See also Ezek. 9:1-11; Zeph. 2:1-3.
2 The name of Jehovah is being made known in all the world. Everywhere the good tidings of the Kingdom are being preached. Multitudes are being taught the commandments. The warning to the wicked is being given and the end of this world proclaimed. The marking of those to be spared at Armageddon goes on. Hundreds of thousands are turning to righteousness and seeking meekness. The “other sheep” are being gathered into one fold. The Kingdom Signal is raised on high, the road prepared for the returning exiles. The sheep are protected against aggressive and ruthless men, and those who would harm their eternal interests. The barren places in the world are blossoming, for where only a few years ago one or two persons were praising Jehovah now there are hundreds, yes, and thousands. The eyes of the blind are being opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, the tongue of the dumb loosened, and the lame can leap. These miracles are now being wrought in the spiritual sense, but in the new world they will be realized in a very literal manner.
3. What are some other interests cared for?
3 Other interests (“goods”) of the Kingdom are also receiving the most careful, thoughtful and thorough attention, for the whole structure of the Lord’s visible organization is watched and weak parts continually strengthened. The very charter of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society was brought up to date, and so the Society was made a more direct, living part and a powerful, usable instrument. Then there are the interests of organizing and directing all the branches, missionary homes, Watchtower School of Gilead, radio station, Kingdom farms, circuits and districts, all the assemblies, companies, pioneers, public witness service, Bible studies, Theocratic ministry school. There are many more new world interests which are “goods” or “possessions” placed in the care of the “servant”.
4. Who only has been made responsible for the “goods”?
4 Yes, these “goods” have been placed under the jurisdiction of the anointed remnant with its legal governing body operating through the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. No one else in the whole world has been given or made responsible for these possessions, nor given the authority to direct and handle such interests. To some readers this may seem a hard statement; but it is the truth, and is made for the protection of the Lord’s “other sheep”, that they may recognize this “faithful and wise servant” and know the “master” has confidence in his discharging faithfully what has been entrusted. Therefore, see now the progressive works of the returned Master in using his faithful people. If we see these things it becomes our bounden duty to cooperate with this servant to receive favor.
THE MASTER’S CONFIDENCE
5. The Lord’s confidence means what to the servant?
5 Beyond all human comprehension is the marvelous arrangement made by the Lord Jesus Christ to entrust to his servant all the tremendous responsibilities on earth pertaining to the new world. The happiness of those who have the Master’s confidence goes far beyond human pleasures. It is that inward consciousness of realizing the Lord’s approval on the loyal and faithful ministry performed thus far. It is refreshing and certainly beneficial for all to learn why the Lord has confidence in his people at this end of the world. Then, when understood, it sets the example for all to follow if they too would have his confidence.
6. What brings about this confidence in his servant?
6 The Lord knows they have held out his Word of life, have preached ‘in season and out of season’, guided his people in the right paths, never allowing his Word to be pushed into the background behind human philosophy, traditions of men, worship of creatures and the propaganda of this world. The servant has kept aloft the purposes and kingdom of God, yes, higher than all the schemes of men, above the insults, slanders and revilings of this evil generation. God will preserve his Word, and no one can destroy it; but how he rejoices and finds pleasure in those he can trust, the ones who have his spirit, who are as ‘men after God’s own heart’! (1 Sam. 13:14) The Lord knows from past service that his “faithful and wise servant” will be a loyal custodian of the Word, guarding it well, treating it as the most precious trust, magnifying it, suffering for it and even dying for it. He knows his own and has his confidence well placed.
7. (a) Has the “faithful and wise servant” shrunk from service? (b) How is the servant “blind”?
7 The servant has not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), regardless of whether announcing the peaceful, millennial reign or the destructive, terrible disaster of Armageddon, the exaltation of God’s name, or the denunciation of the Devil’s world. (Rev. 20:6; 16:12-16; Isaiah 12; Rev. 18:4, 5) They have continually fought forward against all odds, through evil or good report. Through two world wars they have ministered, yet never stopping or pausing by the way. Onward, ever onward, completing their task and always caring for the Kingdom interests. Warning proclamations against the nations and the entire world have been delivered, and they have not hesitated to go before the highest courts of the land for the gospel’s sake, or before rulers and many of the officials to testify to the Kingdom. All the way this “faithful servant” class has been deeply concerned with the new world interests. To everything else they have been blind. Yes, blind to everything but the doing of Jehovah’s will and obeying the King! Their desire has been to serve and please the new world’s King, and not men. This one thing they have done. This servant class has been absolutely dependable and thoroughly reliable. No opportunities have been allowed to slip by that could be used to further the Kingdom interests. Complete performance has been rendered. Not only have they cared for these “goods”, but have sought always to advance them. The new world’s King has confidence in his servant that he will hold these “goods” faithfully now and will continue to do so in the years ahead. There is much to be accomplished, and by Jehovah’s goodness the great work will be done.
8. Does the “ruler” show his confidence in individuals?
8 It is true and a fact that the Lord has shown his trust in this “faithful and wise servant”, but how about all the individuals making up the anointed remnant and now the thousands of “other sheep” of good-will? Does this “ruler” express his pleasure and confidence in these individuals, or does he reckon and deal only with groups? Unquestionably he judges and approves or disapproves individuals. Of course, such persons do not operate independently of the “faithful servant”. Some of these individual responsibilities are shown by the “parable of the talents”.
PARABLE OF THE TALENTS
9, 10. What does the parable of the talents show, and when is it due for fulfillment?
9 This parable is recorded at Matthew 25:14-30, and pertains to Kingdom interests, privileges and opportunities. When giving this and the other preceding parables the Lord said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like unto.’ This does not mean that first when the church enters into heaven such a parable will be fulfilled, neither is he saying what heaven is like by those parables. No, he is not teaching that. Note Matthew 25:1, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto . . . ” This indicates a time feature, and is at the time when the Lord returns, but before he destroys this evil world and commences the 1,000-year reign among men. It is in the “time of the end” (syntéleia). So with the parable of the talents; the master is going on a long journey and calls his servants together and delivers to them his goods. One gets five talents, another two, and the third gets one, “each according to his several ability,” which ability really is depth of devotion.
10 The Lord returns and has a reckoning, and learns that the servant with “five talents” has increased to ten, he with two increased to four, and the third hid his one talent and therefore it was just as it was. The first and second servants are congratulated and rewarded. “Well done, 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.” This clearly teaches that to be trustworthy, faithful and excellent servants we must not only hold and preserve what we have entrusted to us, but increase by doubling. Devotion and performance are required of all those who would hear the “Well done!” (Matt. 25:23) The Lord said, “You have been trustworthy in the management of a little, I will put you in charge of much.” (Weymouth) This is a rule of action upon which the Lord acts; that is, faithfulness in the smallest matters indicates, yes, determines whether one would be faithful in large matters. On another occasion Jesus said, “He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much.” (Luke 16:10, Am. Stan. Ver.) “He who is trustworthy in the smallest matter is trustworthy in a great one also.”—Twentieth Century.
11. (a) What Theocratic rule is here taught? (b) Moses is an example of what? and how can this be applied now?
11 There are those who enthusiastically tackle the seemingly big tasks, especially if it brings them into the limelight, but how about smaller, insignificant tasks, perhaps menial ones, not seen by others? These may seem to be so unimportant that they could easily be left for someone else to do. A servant shows his degree of faithfulness and trustworthiness by the care and diligence he devotes to these small things. The servant must prove his own dependability. Think of the servants of God who gained his complete approval. Moses, for example, the visible leader of approximately two million persons, with all his tremendous responsibilities; yet note the thoroughness with which he attended to every minute detail when building the tabernacle and its furnishings. The record is, “And Moses indeed was faithful in all his [God’s] house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken.” (Heb. 3:5, Am. Stan. Ver.) Jehovah could safely trust Moses to do whatever He commanded. Moses proved himself to be reliable, thoroughly dependable, and it is true today that if we want the Master’s confidence and approval, also increased privileges, then individually we must be dependable and trustworthy.
12. What does Jehovah’s thoroughness teach us?
12 The Creator himself supplies the pattern for all his creatures to follow. Note how carefully and with what thoroughness he has provided for all. The animals, birds, fish, trees, mankind—nothing is missed. The desire of every living thing is satisfied. (Psalm 104) Observe too all the careful preparation for the new world’s rule. The Lord Jesus is a perfect example of one caring for the smallest details. Let us remember that any service we are called upon to do by the Lord’s “faithful and wise servant” is important, whether it be large or small, seen or unseen. Do it as unto the Lord. All such work is important and honorable if we count it so. The psalmist said on one occasion, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Ps. 84:10, Am. Stan. Ver.) Therefore let us not shirk any assigned tasks. Accept the responsibility and do not seek the easy way out of it as do those of this world. Rather, let us enter into it with all our hearts and be faithful.
13, 14. What are some of the Kingdom talents entrusted to the individual? and what must be done with them?
13 To be faithful in our service we must use our “talents”, or Kingdom interests, so they will increase. Try to double them. How can this be accomplished? From what has already been stated, it will be appreciated what are the Kingdom interests committed into the custody of the “faithful and wise servant”, and therefore it will be easy to see how individuals may handle the same interests. All servants of God are entrusted with some Kingdom service, large or small. Why, the very knowledge of the truth itself is a trust, for it has been given to us by the Lord, and it can also be taken away from us by the Lord. We do not keep ourselves in the truth by human methods, such as the mere human will-power. No, for it is the loving-kindness of God that grants this treasured knowledge. God pushes the proud away, and the meek he shows his covenant. This being so, then what are we doing with this interest? Are we increasing in knowledge and understanding? It grows with use, it does not increase by hiding it. Then we have interests in magazine advertising, back-calls on interested persons, Bible studies and other field service. Then the congregational services must be attended to. Every servant, every pioneer, and all the brethren serving in the Society’s institutions have “talents” or “interests”.
14 Regardless of where we are, if our service has been assigned to us by and through the “faithful and wise servant” then it must be a Kingdom service, because that servant is “ruler over all the goods”. Then, are we developing the service given into our custody? Are we merely going through the routine, as it were, with no enthusiasm, zeal, eagerness and joy behind it? Are we performing our service with promptitude? Do not aspire to be in the limelight, but let the Lord and his “faithful servant” assign you the tasks. Remember that promotion comes from the Lord. (Ps. 75:5-7) Be grateful and appreciative for even the smallest service you can perform. Another Theocratic rule that must be borne in mind is, “To whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required.” (Luke 12:48, Am. Stan. Ver.) “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath.” (Matt. 13:12, Am. Stan. Ver.) There must be an increase of what has been entrusted.
15. (a) How should each servant handle his talents? (b) What would a person do to increase his worldly business, and what to increase the King’s business?
15 How does a man increase his worldly business? He will first become well acquainted with the product he is selling. It may be he is convinced it will do a certain amount of good, and he becomes optimistic and enthusiastic. Then he commences advertising and provides for demonstrations, learns how to meet and to treat opposition and competition. He gets good, reliable assistants, and spends his money where it will bring the best results. He must work hard, be untiring in efforts, boundless in patience, if he wants the desired results. If all these things are accomplished for secular business, for goods which are transitory and perishable, then how much more should we do for Kingdom “business”, which is eternal. In this new world you have a personal interest; for do you not expect to live in it and enjoy its blessings? If so, then be one of those servants expending yourself on its behalf. Add something to your service. Do not be trying to show the ‘ruler of all the interests’ how to do his business, but get busy with those committed to your care. If only all the Lord’s servants would put the same thought, planning, enthusiasm, hard work, alacrity, in the new world’s service as they do in their own worldly affairs, then they would reap 100-percent increase. Then greater and wider opportunities of service would come to mind, opening out wider fields. Neglect toward these interests brings disaster. “The slave who knows his master’s wishes, but does not get ready or act upon them, will be severely punished.”—Luke 12:47, An Amer. Trans.
16. How can we make sure we increase our Kingdom interests?
16 To be approved by the new world’s Rulers we must increase the interests we have, large or small. Therefore concentrate on the Lord’s work and do not permit your personal business matters and other affairs to hinder your handling the Lord’s interests so they will increase. Accept your responsibilities and do not wait for someone to urge you on, but go forward yourself. You are one of the Lord’s servants. Make the King’s business the most important, and force your own into second or even third place. Never be indifferent, careless, unreliable, escaping responsibilities. Rather, copy the “faithful and wise servant”, who now has charge of all the Lord’s visible Kingdom services.
COMMENDATION AND JOY
17. How are the commendation and “joy of the Lord” given to his servant in these days?
17 Esteem above all else the obtaining of the highest praise and commendation from the King of all kings, the Ruler chosen by Almighty Jehovah. “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matt. 25:21, Am. Stan. Ver.) Faithful service brings the reward, for more responsibilities are placed on the shoulders of such servant, and this happens before the old world is destroyed. These approved ones are also entering into the joy of their Lord. The great joy of the new world’s ruler is to do the heavenly Father’s work, to see that his name, Jehovah, is praised forever and ever, and to have part now in vindicating it before all the world. That joy knows no limits. Then there is the destruction of this evil world, removing evildoers for all time. Oh, that the day might even be hastened! It cannot come quickly enough. Then the Devil, his demons, his rulers of darkness, will be gone. Does not even this prospect bring abounding joy to your heart? And there is still more to follow.
18. How can we begin to enter into the joy of our Lord?
18 Can you not begin to enter into the “joy of thy Lord”? Yes, it is possible, and that to the extent of your faithful service. This joy is not given to the slackers, murmurers and idlers, but only to those who are ever alert, awake and seeking to increase at all times. The greater the service and approval, the more we enter into the joy. All the joys of Kingdom service, belonging to the King, we may enter into, and the immediate future holds many more. This is our day of prosperity. Let us rejoice and be glad that now we are in it. (Ps. 118:23-29) Be joyful in the King of the new world. There has never been a time like this in the history of man, and there will never be such a time again. Share the King’s service now, and share the King’s joy. Now is the time to work hard and work with a will. The work is joyful and will continue so, bringing its increase in talents (Kingdom interests). The promise has been made, “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; in thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”—Ps. 16:11, Am. Stan. Ver.
19. What future rewards are in store for those who increase their talents?
19 Then everlasting blessings in the glorious new world. “And the ransomed of Jehovah shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” “For the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them unto fountains of waters of life: and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Isa. 35:10 and Rev. 7:17, Am. Stan. Ver.) No time now to slack the hand, but be busy in the Kingdom service, improving, increasing, always expanding your talents (Kingdom interests). The time is short. All loyal, faithful servants of God, enter fully into your present service. Greater responsibilities, which may require all the strength we have, lie ahead, but the rewards are also great. Therefore let all be sober, be vigilant, be energetic. Foes will come up against us, but Jehovah will push them back, so that we can get ahead with his precious work. Watch the “faithful and wise servant” and receive with meekness and gratitude the counsel and instructions issued. Keep away from the tables of those opposed. Watch well your present interests in the Kingdom. Do not spare yourself, but increase more and more, and you will be conscious of the Lord’s approval and those sweet, delightful, satisfying words of approval by the Master, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Our eternal existence depends upon faithful performance of duty.