Some of the most beautiful words in all of Scripture are found in Matthew 25:21:
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 your lord.
Each one of us should long to hear these breathtaking words when we stand before our Lord in eternity one day. But in order to receive this greeting, we will have to be set free from fear. Of all the strongholds that keep people from fulfilling their calling and destiny, fear is probably the most common.
Make no mistake about it: Fear is your enemy, not your friend. The Bible is quite clear about this: “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Over and over again in the pages of His Word, God tells people: “FEAR NOT!”
Before we go any further, I want you to pause and ask yourself what you would do if you had no fear of failure…no fear of harm…no fear of financial lack…no fear of rejection. What mighty work would you endeavor for God’s Kingdom if you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you had His favor, provision, and protection?
Jesus’ statement about the “good and faithful servant” comes in the context of the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Before going on a long journey, the master had entrusted his money to three different servants. The first man was given five talents (a form of silver) and the second was given two talents.
The master was pleased with both of the first two servants. Although they had been given different amounts, they each had invested wisely, doubling the amount they initially received.
The first two servants each received exactly the same words of praise from their master. Pleased with their faithful stewardship, he assured them of his favor and said, “Well done!”
Receiving an Increase
The first two servants both had taken steps of faith to invest their master’s resources, and they each received an increase as a result. Because they had been “faithful over a few things,” the master made them “ruler over many things.”
What a fantastic picture of the scene in Heaven for those who are faithful with the resources God entrusted to them on earth. Can you imagine what it will be like to hear your Master embrace you and say…
“Enter into the joy of your Lord!”
Too often, I meet believers who complain that they haven’t been given much to invest into God’s Kingdom and the work of spreading the Gospel. “I hardly have enough to provide for my own family,” they say.
Yet the master in the Parable of the Talents didn’t judge his servants based on how many resources they started with. Instead, he judged them on their faithfulness to invest and increase whatever resources they had been given. By doubling their investment, the first two servants each received a 100% return!
The Fearful Servant
There was another servant in this story – one who sadly missed out on his master’s favor. Instead of investing the money he had been given, he chose to bury it. He apparently assumed the master would be pleased just to get his money back when he returned.
Yet instead of being pleased, the master was livid, calling the man a “wicked and lazy servant” (v. 26). While the third servant thought he was playing it safe by burying his money in the ground, his cowardice ended up costing him everything. The master gave his money to the man who had grown his investment from five to ten talents.
This outcome may seem harsh to us, but we need to see what had motivated the man to make such a tragic error:
Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours (vs. 24-25).
You see, it was FEAR that had hindered this man from investing his master’s resources. Unwilling to take a risk, he hid the resources where he thought they would remain safe.
Sabotaging God’s Favor
Look how this servant allowed fear to sabotage his master’s favor:
- FEAR prevented him from acting in FAITH.
- By failing to act in FAITH, he was unable to be FAITHFUL with the master’s resources.
- Because he wasn’t FAITHFUL, he forfeited the FAVOR and INCREASE he would have received from the master.
How blind this servant was! Everyone else in Jesus’ parable took steps of faith instead of steps of fear. The master and the first two servants were sowers, investing the resources they had and expecting an increase.
The only one who failed to receive an increase was the third servant – because fear kept him from investing!
My friend, which of the servants are you most like today? If you allow fear to govern your life, you’ll fail to take the steps of faith necessary to experience God’s best for you as His son or daughter.
But when God delivers you from fear, you will courageously invest your life and your resources into His Kingdom and the lives of others, confident of His bountiful provision. Best of all, instead of fear and frustration, you’ll be able to “enter into the joy of your Lord.” What a great reward!
Ben Cerullo has been named by Charisma Magazine as one of the “30 Emerging Voices” who will lead the church in the next decade. His ministry carries a powerful anointing and prophetic message. Traveling extensively, both domestically and internationally, he has spoken in more than 27 nations. God continues to use him to reach people with the Gospel, confirming His Word with signs following.