August 24, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
What do you hope to experience in heaven when you leave this life, Christian? In talking with others, I have heard several answers. One told me, “I want to see the Lord Jesus’ hands and feet and, like Thomas was told, to put my fingers into the holes. For He died for me.” Another said, “I want to see my believing loved ones again, and be with them forever.” A monetary-focused person answered, “I want to walk the streets of gold!” All are responses that reflect Biblical truths. But the one thing I desire above all else is simply to hear my Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
These words are from the Parable of the Talents found in Matthew 25:14 through 30. The master of the estate went away and gave to his servants money – called talents. A talent was a unit of weight and weighed about 75 pounds. If the talents of this parable were silver, by today’s spot prices they would each be worth almost $23,500! Five talents given to the first servant was today’s equivalent of over $117,000! But to give it another perspective, a silver denarius was considered one day’s wage for a laboring man. And 6,000 denarii weighed one talent. Five talents would then be equal to 30,000 days’ wages – or over 96 years for a laboring man to earn that much!
In the parable, the master gave three servants the sums of five talents, two talents, and one talent. They were to use the money wisely in business and investing, and give an account of their activity when the master came back from his journey. Then the servants would return the money to him. The first servant gained five more talents from his ventures, returning ten to his master. The second also doubled his money, from two to four. The third did nothing with his single talent, but we will not concentrate on him. I want to focus on this: both the first and second servants were heartily commended by their master. Here is Matthew 25:19 through 21:
After a long time the lord of those servants came, and settled accounts
with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five
other talents, saying, “Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I
have gained five more talents besides them.” His lord said to him,
“Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few
things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of
The second servant received equal praise and great reward.
Yes, I know heaven is beyond what I can even imagine! Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:9 (quoting Isaiah 64:4): “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” And yes, I believe I am going to receive great rewards! Jesus said in Mark 9:41 that “…whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” How much of a reward? In Matthew 19:29 (1965 Bible in Basic English), the Lord tells us, “And everyone who has given up houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or child, or land, for my name, will be given a hundred times as much, and have eternal life.” And yes, I will so enjoy being reunited with my believing loved ones. And, oh, how I want to see my Savior and Lord face to face! But to hear Him say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant…,” is the ultimate reward in my thinking!
But one more thing comes to my mind when I think of the phrase Well Done! Since I am a carnivore (meat-eater), and I like my steaks cooked medium (hot pink center), I consider Well Done to be over-cooked – too long in the fire!
Too long in the fire! In the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), we get the idea that the rich man was in hell just a few minutes when he cried out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” (verse 24). What would he be screaming after a year – a thousand years, a million years – tormented in this flame? Hell is forever! (See Isaiah 66:24; Matthew 9:48; Revelation 14:10, 11; 19:3). And to be tormented in this flame forever would result in truly being over-cooked! By the way, I don’t say this in a humorous way. This is a very serious matter with eternal consequences! And the remedy is by faith accepting Jesus Christ into your heart and life to be your Savior!
Let’s take a look now at the last servant in the Parable of the Talents. He hid the money entrusted to him, and did not return to his master any profit from it. The master addressed him thus:
You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown,
and gather where I have not scattered seed. Therefore you ought to have
deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have re-
ceived back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him…and
cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness. There will be weeping
and gnashing of teeth.
Why was where he was cast a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth? Because he was in eternal flames! He would be Well Done forever!
So strive to hear “Well done…” from the Lord when you stand before Him! But don’t be Well Done in hell!