What makes a successful Christian? Who’s number one on God’s “most impressive Christian” list? Is it:
- The mega-church pastor who preaches six times on Sundays, writes chart-topping books, and has his own podcast with really cool rock music (probably U2) at the beginning? Maybe.
- The children’s ministry volunteer who dispenses fifty-three pounds of goldfish crackers to sweaty three-year olds every Sunday? Maybe.
- The homeschooling mom who deals with large volumes of laundry and baby poop on a daily basis? Maybe.
In Matthew 25:14-28 Jesus spells out a blueprint for success that’s very different from our standard definitions of success. You know the story. A master is preparing for a journey and starts dishing out the Benjamin’s to his servants.
The first servant gets five talents, the second gets two talents, and the third gets one talent. Servants one and two immediately hit the streets, putting their talents to work in the cause of the master. Servant number three digs a hole and buries his talent. The master returns.
Servant number one stands before his master and presents him with ten talents, a return of 100%. Servant number two? One-hundred percent ROI. Servant number three presents the master with a big fat nothing. He simply returns the talent he was given.
The response of the master is incredible. To the first two servants he says:
Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.
No reference to the numbers. No talk of the bottom line. The master highlights the faithfulness of the servants. You have been faithful over a little. That’s it.
A successful Christian is someone who faithfully uses their talents and circumstances to further the cause of God. Numbers don’t equal success. God is impressed with faithfulness. The faithful pastor of 20 is just as pleasing as the faithful pastor of 2,000. The faithful small group leader is just as pleasing as the faithful mega-conference worship leader. God doesn’t ask for big results, he just asks for faithfulness.
So the question of the day/year/century/eternity is: are you faithful?
+photo by Xavier Fargas