You were faithful in small matters. 

Bigger is better—or so they say. We want big cars, big homes, big money. We want to be seen as a big deal. Even today’s parable seems to support this “blessedness of more.” We aspire to be the servant who receives ten talents, or at least the five. We want to make a big return and garner praise from other people, just as the productive servants received honor from the king. The parable seems to say that big results please God. But is that really what Jesus is saying? Let’s take a closer look.

Matthew sandwiches this story between two parables about the Second Coming. The first praises the wise virgins, who were ready, their lamps filled with oil, when the bridegroom arrived (Matthew 25:10). The second compares the sheep and the goats, who are judged on the basis of their care for the “least ones” (25:45). And between these two sits the parable of a king who praises his industrious servants: “Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities” (25:21, 23).

The wise virgins didn’t do anything particularly impressive. They just brought along their flasks of oil. The “sheep” seemed surprised to know that their works of mercy mattered so much. And although the servants’ profits pleased him, the king would have been content with mere interest at the bank. In all three cases, it wasn’t about the size of the task or the amount of the return. The king cared about faithfulness. Small, insignificant, even hidden things pleased him. And they please Jesus too.

Not many of us can do big things for God, but we can all do small things. God sees even our tiniest efforts, and he values our faithfulness in doing them well. Jesus praised the poor widow who gave two coins (Luke 21:2). He saw her heart, her faith, and her faithfulness. And he sees yours. He sees the prayers you lift up when nobody is looking. The dishes you wash for the hundredth time. Your early morning commute to provide for your family. Your phone call to your elderly parents. He promises, “You were faithful in small matters. . . . Come, share your master’s joy” (Matthew 25:23).

“Lord, help me to be faithful in the small things today.”

1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
Psalm 98:1, 7-9
Matthew 25:14-30


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