Spiritual Success or Distress?
Quarter 2, Lesson 2

Lesson Two

We Are Converted To Be Good Servants

Texts: Matthew 24:45-51; 25:14-30; Luke 12:35-48; 19:11-27

The people Jesus taught were quite familiar with servants. Their world had more servants than free men. They clearly understood what a servant was. They also clearly understood the difference between "good" servants and "bad" servants. They likely knew good and bad servants. They understood what made good servants "good" and bad servants "bad."

A good servant functioned conscientiously and responsibly. He knew his master well. He understood what his master wanted. He knew exactly how to care for his master's interests. He understood his basic responsibility: to help the master achieve his purposes. It did not matter if the master was or was not watching him. It did not matter if his master was out of the country or at home. A good servant conscientiously, responsibly cared for the master's interests and purposes every day. He never forgot the master's desires and purposes. He never stopped watching his master's hand. His purpose in life was to help the master achieve his goals.

A bad servant did not know his master. He cared little about understanding his master. He just did what was necessary. There was a job to do today. There would be another to do tomorrow. He feared his master. He did not want to call the master's attention to himself. Do your job well enough to go unnoticed--that was "safe." When the master watched, work hard. When the master did not watch, do only what was necessary. Live carefully and be a hard worker when the master is at home. Live carelessly and be lazy when the master is gone. Surviving is life's goal. "I probably always will be a servant. So survive; 'have fun' when life and 'good fortune' gives the opportunity."

Jesus the servant used the common knowledge of servants to teach people how to serve God.

Matthew 24:45-51

  1. What servant (slave) would a master put in charge of feeding his family [verse 45]?

  2. Who would be the "blessed" servant (slave) [verse 46]?

  3. Why would the master put this servant (slave) in charge of everything he owned [verses 45-47]?

  4. What did the evil servant (slave) say in his heart [verse 48]?

  5. How did the evil servant (slave) act [verse 49]?

  6. What would be the result and consequences of this behavior [verses 50,51]?

Matthew 25:14-30

  1. What did the master do and why did he do it [verse 14]?

  2. What determined the amount of money the master gave each servant (slave) [verse 15]?

  3. What did the servant (slave) who received the huge financial amount of five talents immediately do [verse 16]?

  4. What did the servant (slave) who received the large financial amount of two talents do [verse 17]?

  5. What did the servant (slave) who received the sizable financial amount of one talent do [verse 18]?

  6. When the master returned he required a report (an accounting) of how the servants (slaves) had managed his money. Remember: ability determined what each man received.

    1. How did the master respond to the reports of the servants (slaves) who received the five and two talent amounts [verses 21,23]?

    2. How did the servant (slave) who received the one talent amount explain his motivation for his actions [verse 24,25]?

    3. What did the master call the servant (slave) who hid the money he received [verse 26}?

    4. If that was what the servant (slave) believed about his master, what should he have done with the money [verse 27]?

  7. Thought questions:

    1. Did the servant (slave) who received the one talent amount spend the money drinking?

    2. Did he spend it on prostitutes?

    3. Did he steal it for himself?

    4. Did he spend it to create a better standard of living for his family and extended family?

    5. Did he personally profit from the money in any way?

    6. Did the master sustain an actual loss of money?

    7. Why was this servant (slave) wicked and lazy?

  8. In verse 30 he is called a "worthless" servant (slave) and severely punished. If his actions did not lose his master's money, if the master was 'none the poorer' because of the servant's decision and action, why was he worthless?

The same basic point is made in the other texts. Take everything you now understand about Jesus being precisely the servant God wanted. Remember Jesus was able to accomplish God's exact purposes because he was that kind of servant. Consider your understandings from today's lessons. Then answer this question: what are the basic requirements for a Christian to become the servant that (1) God wants and (2) accomplishes precisely what God wants done? Always remember the wicked servant did not know his master.

Link to Teacher's Guide Quarter 2, Lesson 2

Copyright © 2000
David Chadwell & West-Ark Church of Christ

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