What is the best thing Jesus could ever say to you?
Yesterday, I wrote about possibly the worst thing Jesus could say to someone. Not to be too much of a downer, I thought I’d offer the flip-side – the very best thing one could ever hope to hear from Him.
Well done, good and faithful servant.
The words are actually in the mouth of the parabolic master of several servants. You can read the story. It is easy to imagine these words in the mouth of Jesus himself, spoken to those who meet him at the end of their lives. It is not an inappropriate interpretation either, that the ‘interest’ is the fruit of a faithful life well lived, given back to the Lord at the end.
So to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” from Jesus is likely the very greatest thing he could ever say to us. Are we living, conscious of that? Do we long to hear him say that to us?
In order to hear Jesus say that to us, the very best thing he could ever say, let me offer a few suggestions:
We need to know our lives are brief and will come to an end. And at that end we will meet him and have a chat about the life we lived. This need not cause us fear but it ought to spur us to follow him with our lives, eagerly wanting to do the good will of God.
We need to consider our lives do not belong to us. Because they don’t; we’ve been bought with a price and the price was high. The One who buys something gets to do what they want with it. And my life is to be spent as Jesus wants to spend it. The late John Wimber used to say: ““I am just change in God’s pocket. He can spend me how He chooses.” A sentiment of true discipleship.
We need to know that even though we’re not saved by what we can accomplish, what we do matters. God may not need our good works but our neighbours do, to paraphrase Luther. Good works, and the eagerness to do them, are evidence of a life purified by Jesus’ work.
And we need to understand that to be a servant is not a shameful thing. Not many in our culture today want to be a servant. People want to be leaders or livers-of-free-lives but not servants and certainly not slaves. The apostles called themselves slaves. And Jesus served. He served in a pretty low-down way – shirt off, down on the knees, and washing feet. Being a servant is the way to go. By serving others we can be serving the One who will evaluate our service at the end. And we do want o hear from him, the very best thing he could ever say to us: Well done, good and faithful servant.