In 2018 a group of strangers came by our church to pray for us and they shared a lot of really powerful words that God had put on their hearts—words that went on to become experientially true. But there was one simple word a woman prayed in that moment that hit unexpectedly hard for me: “Well done good and faithful servants.”
My face contorted as I tried to hold the tears back. What was going on? This woman was simply quoting the declaration Jesus made over those of his followers who hadn’t squandered the resources he had given them. Why would someone quoting a Scripture I knew so well break my heart?
Because after years of ministry I felt like I had little to show for it. Every time the church grew, something happened and it shrunk. Every new experiment I tried never seem to catch on. Every outreach event carried no traction in bringing back our guests. Every ministerial stat I had to fill out on every report screamed back at me, “Failure, failure, failure. No matter what you do or how hard you try, you are incapable of doing the basics.”
So it’s no wonder I wanted to cry at being told, “Well done”—especially because we were living in an intimidating “live or die” season as a church at that time. I had no idea how much I needed to hear Jesus’ words through that stranger. In that moment I felt seen by the only person whose ministerial opinion really mattered. Jesus had seen how we had used the resources he had given us and he was pleased. And just as that same parable goes, he would now pour out more resources on us as a reward and propel us forward—until the pandemic hit. But even throughout these testing times I have sensed the Spirit say, “Be faithful to me and I will be faithful to you.”
As Christians, we have all been invested in by Jesus in some varied capacity and we all therefore have the expectation to invest what we have received back into the Kingdom of Heaven. So may all of our spiritual gifts, skills, capabilities, time, money, resources, and more, go on to further instill the Kingdom in our midst. Ministry can be hard, but our churches are seen even when we don’t always get the results we hope for. Indeed, our driest moments may be a time of testing to see if we’re faithful and capable enough of carrying additional resources. So may we always continue to be good and faithful regardless of what we face; for if we are not, Jesus will take our resources away, just as he warned some of the churches he would do in the book of Revelation. In fact, Jesus tells us that if we do not use the resources he’s given us, we may even find ourselves on the wrong side of judgment.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Matthew 25:14-30 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net.