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.
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
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