The Wise and Wicked Slaves – Matthew 24.45-51
This passage reminds me of the moment as a teacher when you have to step out of the classroom for a moment, for whatever reason. “And I want to see you all working quietly when I get back.”
And, in most classes, when you step back in some will be and some won’t be, and many will be somewhere in between, and some will be trying (unsuccessfully) to pretend they were working all along, honest, when you know full well they’ve picked up their pen as you walked through the door.
So, I suspect, it will be with the followers of Jesus when he returns. Some will be working at the tasks he has given them, and some won’t be, and some will be giving every appearance of doing so without actually having got anything done.
But what interests me more is the motivation of those who work – or don’t. I once saw in a colleague’s study a poster with the caption “quick, look busy, Jesus is coming”. But of course, that rather misses the point.
Like the teacher returning to the classroom, Jesus wants us to do the tasks he has left us not in order to impress him or show how busy we’ve been, but because they are important tasks and beneficial, to us and to others.
At my school, we aim for every child to become a self-motivated learner. That is, they want to complete the task not because they want to please me, but because they want to learn. I wonder if we need to become self-motivated disciples – following Jesus’ commands not because we want to look good or gain his approval when he returns, but because we want to grow in faith and holiness.