How Will You and I Be Greeted? :: By Sean Gooding

Matthew 25:14-30

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability, and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them and made another five talents. 17 And likewise, he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground and hid his lord’s money.

19 After a long time, the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 “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.’ 21 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 your lord.’

22 He also, who had received two talents, came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ 26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming, I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him, who has ten talents.

29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”

A dear pastor friend and mentor passed away on April 10. I was by his bedside along with his family; his wife of more than 60 years, who has worked alongside him, was there as he drew his last breath and went home to his redeemer. It was a time of mixed emotions. He had suffered for many years from various ailments, and it was hard to see him deteriorate little by little—first his mobility, then his ability to attend church, stay awake for long periods, the ability to move without pain, and more. The endless doctor visits, 4 or 5 days a week on a dialysis machine, and the gradual loss of his cognizance.

On the other hand, it was hard to watch his wife face the first few moments without him, grandchildren, and children having to say goodbye, the conversations turning to gravesites, and the financial burden of the funeral. Over the tens of funerals I have done, it never gets easier to sit with those who are left behind. Still, there is a peace that overshadows the death, and we are comforted that we know he is truly in a better place. His faith has become a sight, and he can see, for the first time, Jesus, the patriarchs, and billions of saved people from the past 6,000 years of human history.

This brother pastored churches in British Columbia and then in Ontario, Canada. He raised three kids on the road, and they are all still involved. He shared the gospel with hundreds, if not thousands, over the years and led many to faith in Jesus. He never pastored a big church; in fact, I am now pastoring the church he came from BC to Ontario to plant. He asked me to help about 4 years ago, and here we are.

In the parable from our text today, Jesus is the man going away; he leaves his servants to do the work of the kingdom, and then He returns to judge their progress. The first two are successful and are greeted as ‘good and faithful servants.’

As I was pondering this dear brother’s life, I do not doubt that he was greeted as a ‘good and faithful servant.’ But it made me think and wonder how I would be greeted. Maybe we need to ask ourselves that. How would you be greeted? Are you and I truly investing all of our abilities and talents in the kingdom of God? We will all be judged one day.

Maybe it is just that I am getting older; maybe it is that over the past few months, I have seen a lot of death, and I know there may be more to come as in-laws get older and parents get older. This weighs on my mind, and I wonder if we preachers have prepared our folks for the judgment. We talk so much of grace that we forget to remind our folks that even God’s children will be judged and have to give an account of their lives after salvation.

In verses 24-30, Jesus confronts the slothful servant who hides the talent and gives it back to Jesus. There was neither loss nor gain, but Jesus points out that even a bit of interest was better than nothing. The man lost his talent, and he was sent into ‘outer darkness.’ For a long time, I heard many say he was sent to hell. But this is not the case. He was a servant in the kingdom and thus could not lose his place in the general kingdom; instead, he was sent away from the New Jerusalem and into the outlying areas away from the glow of the new city. He did not lose his salvation; none of us can.

How many of us will be in the outer darkness area, saved but not living in the New Jerusalem? Lord, help me to be like the first two servants who diligently worked in your kingdom and joyfully gave you a return on your investment. Which of the servants will you be? Be sure we will stand to be judged; we will not escape.

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist ChurchHow to Connect with Us

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