August 26

Text: Matthew 24:45-51

"Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.  Truly I say to you, that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  But if that evil slave says in his heart, 'My master is not coming for a long time,' and shall begin to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and shall cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth.”  (NASB)

The focus of this devotional is on the evil slave.  Both men were slaves.  They had the same Master.  Each had responsibility and opportunity.  The difference was behavior, not circumstance.

The Master’s question was unchanged: Who will the Master trust to take care of his family?

The problems the evil slave had began in his heart—internally.  It was what he said to himself that began his problems.  Our conversations with ourselves are critical!

He treated a definite as though it were a hypothetical.  The point was not that his Master was not returning “for a long time.”  The point was that the Master was returning—that was a definite!

Because in that conversation he trusted what he could not know, his behavior was based on a flawed conclusion.  He deceived himself!  He changed companions, physically abused fellow slaves, and indulged himself.  He removed himself from responsible influences and associated with irresponsible influences.  Perhaps he decided he was not a slave with responsibilities.  Perhaps he decided his only task was to indulge himself—“I am all that matters!”

The predictable happened (wonder if he ever said, “I should have seen that coming!”).  The Master returned without warning (remember there were no telephones or mail!).  For this slave, the “long time” was always a “long time”—it was never “today is the day.”  Because he continually acted irresponsibly, he was caught in his irresponsible conduct.

The result: he was beaten, forced to change companions again to punished hypocrites, and experienced enormous continual suffering.  Irresponsible behavior resulted in a horrible existence.

Suggestion for reflection: What do you say to yourself when no one knows your purposes?  (Read Luke 12:16-21.)

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