18. According to what line of reasoning did the master answer the slave, and so why did he call the slave what he did call him?
18 The slave’s master answered him according to his own argument, for we read: “In reply his master said to him, ‘Wicked and sluggish slave, you knew, did you, that I reaped where I did not sow and gathered where I did not winnow?
19. Why did the slave deserve to be called “wicked,” and how could he have taken the “easy way” to meet his master’s requirements?
19 This unprofitable slave was “wicked,” in that his failure to bring increase to his master was deliberate, willful. He was not interested in the increase of his master’s belongings. Not that he did not know that his master required increase. He did know this, and he could have taken the easy way and deposited the silver talent in his care with the bankers, that these might make investments therewith and make gain and therefore pay due interest on the money deposited with them. In this way, the slave’s master on his coming back would have received not only the silver talent but also the interest that was paid on the deposit of the money with the bankers. Not only did he not imitate the slave with the five talents and the slave with the two talents, but he did not cooperate with them. Although he returned the original silver talent that was committed to him, he caused really a loss to his master. His purposely causing his master such a loss made him “wicked.”
20. In what way was this slave “sluggish,” this resulting how to him?
20 The unprofitable slave was also “sluggish.” He was lazy, unwilling to ‘do business’ with alertness, in the way that the fellow slaves did. He had the ability to work gainfully, otherwise his master would not have entrusted him with, at the least, a talent. His being given one talent made him the least responsible of all three slaves, but this least amount of money was not more than “his own ability” could care for. Yet, instead of directing his ability in profitable channels, he dug in the ground and hid his master’s talent and rendered it unproductive. He was so sluggish that even his sizing up his master as an “exacting man” did not drive him to get to work with the precious talent during the long time that his master would be gone. The slave had plenty of opportune time. His failing to bring increase resulted disastrously for him.
21. What is the counterpart of the slave in the modern-day climax of the parable’s fulfillment?
21 This “wicked and sluggish slave” has a modern counterpart in the fulfillment of the parable at its climax in our day. As in the case of the two fellow slaves, the unproductive slave also stands for a class or group of Christian slaves who are actually in the service or who are committed to the service of the heavenly Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. This unprofitable class put in appearance after the settling of accounts began in that first postwar year of 1919 C.E.
22. Who else claimed to be in the service of the heavenly Master, but how did they neglect his “belongings” after World War I ended?
22 Of course, the sectarian church members of Christendom professed to be in the service of the heavenly Lord Jesus Christ. Well, then, did they go cultivating the field that lay wide open before them at the close of World War I on November 11, 1918, and go producing disciples for the reigning King Jesus Christ, now in his parousia? No; they took a compromising course with the politicians and militarists of this world. They neglected the Kingdom “belongings” of the King whose princely rule is to increase without end. They turned their interest and attention to the proposed League of Nations, which the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America called “the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.” (Isaiah 9:6, 7) They tried to increase the number of supporters and worshipers of that man-made international organization for world peace and security. At present the religious sects and denominations of Christendom are advocating the successor organization, the United Nations.
23. Their not cultivating the world field for the benefit of God’s Messianic kingdom has had what result?
23 In the settling of accounts during this time of examination by the returned Lord Jesus Christ, those professed “slaves” in Christendom can present to him no increase in his belongings. They have not cultivated the world field for the benefit of God’s Messianic kingdom, for they have turned their backs upon it and have left the people in ignorance of Jehovah’s established Messianic kingdom.
24. How do those described in paragraph three of the “New Name” resolution fit the picture of the “sluggish slave”?
24 However, even among those in contact with the faithful “slaves” of the returned, reigning King Jesus Christ there has appeared a class of anointed Christians who fit the picture of the “wicked and sluggish slave.” Evidently this class is referred to in the third paragraph of the Resolution entitled “A New Name,” that was adopted Sunday afternoon, July 26, 1931, at the international convention held in Columbus, Ohio, under the auspices of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. This paragraph we now quote:
WHEREAS shortly following the death of Charles T. Russell a division arose between those associated with him in such work, resulting in a number of such withdrawing from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and who have since refused to cooperate with said Society and its work and who decline to concur in the truth as published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in The Watch Tower and the other recent publications of the said above-named corporations, and have opposed and do now oppose the work of said Society in declaring the present message of God’s kingdom and the day of the vengeance of our God against all parts of Satan’s organization; and said opposing ones have formed themselves into divers and numerous companies and have taken and now bear such names as, to wit, “Bible Students,” “Associated Bible Students,” “Russellites teaching the truth as expounded by Pastor Russell,” “Stand-Fasters,” and like names, all of which tends to cause confusion and misunderstanding . . .”
25. Consequently, the above-mentioned ones have not shared in what experiences and accomplishments of those bearing the “new name”?
25 Factually, those uncooperative and even opposing ones mentioned above did not embrace that “new name,” Jehovah’s witnesses, and become known as the Christian witnesses of Jehovah. They have shared neither in the terrible sufferings that the bearers of the “new name” have experienced since then nor in the work of announcing Jehovah’s established kingdom in the hands of his Messiah in all parts of the earth. For these reasons they have not shared in the marvelous expanding of the field for the cultivating and producing of disciples of Christ, to include at present 208 lands and islands or island groups, and requiring the publication of the Kingdom message in more than 160 languages. Despite vicious persecution in various lands, this cultivating of the field (which is the world of mankind) for the bringing forth of additional disciples of Christ moves forward to its culmination! It is presently being carried on under the supervision of the ninety-five branch organizations of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania.