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The 6th Sunday of Great Lent: The Good & Faithful Servant (Gebrehere)

In this sixth significant theme of the fast, we asked, 'Who is the wise and faithful servant?' The answer to this question lies in what we do or do not do with our lives as we await Christ's return to this world in His second coming. The faithful servant is the person who hears and does or fulfills the word of God; it is the one who is faithful and loyal to God, the Church, and its family; it is the person who has received the tradition and faith of Christ's Church and holds it steadfastly and courageously. This person is faithful over small things such as fasting, prayer, humility, devotion, our health, and material wealth for use in God's work on Earth. The faithful and good servant is the one who builds his house on the rock and not on the sand. The unfaithful servant is the opposite of all these. The teachings for Gebrehere are found in Matthew 25:14-46; 13:12 & Luke 19:12-27.

Misbak of the Day:

'I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.' 'I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness in the great assembly.' [Psalm 40:8,9]

Lesson - Gebrehere - Faithful and Good Servant:

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.

The person who went on a journey is Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – He ascended to heaven after teaching everything pertaining to the kingdom of God. Through the sacrament of our church, everyone, including bishops, priests, deacons, and believers, has received God's grace, His teaching, and His commandment. God gave us different talents (graces) according to our ability and strength through different times starting with baptism, to work with them according to His will. Everyone has talents, although not everyone uses their talents to the full extent. There is no one who has no talents. The Lord is generous in distributing His gifts and is not partial to anyone. He knows how to distribute to each one according to their potential. What God has given us as talents has not been given haphazardly, for He knows what is appropriate for each member for their own salvation. This urges us not to be puffed up against those of lesser talents, and not to envy those of greater talents than ourselves, but rather to thank Him who grants the talents, for it is enough that this is given to us by His own hands. The apostle says, (1 Cor 12:4-6) 'There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.' Some have the talent of helping, teaching, being a role model, some of giving encouragement, others use their personal time at the expense of themselves to help others in prayer or financially support the church or help the poor.

'He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.'

Here, it raises the question of how we are using those God-given talents. The three people represent us. Some try to use what they have been given, while others either ignore it or hide it. God is not expectant of any gain, and He is not concerned about the quantity; He is rather concerned about the loyalty of His servants or their negligence.

'Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

This is Judgment Day - God will come and judge us according to our deeds. How one invests their potential in time indicates their attitude toward God, including their reactions to others. Therefore, everyone based on the talent given through the sacrament of the church is expected to work on those talents and bring interest by the time our Lord and God comes for Judgment.

And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘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.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘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.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

What the servants of the five and the two talents have profited is only 'the honesty in the job.' They were worthy to be in charge of a large amount. But as for those with one talent, his problem is his carelessness, for he has hidden the talent and has led an idle life. The owners of the five talents and the two talents have both obtained the eternal reward due to their love for God [His law, church] and His people. But as for the owner of the one talent, which he hid in the ground, this refers to the selfish man who works for his own account alone. He is not tied in any love to God or to man but is centralized in himself in all selfishness which is able to bury him in the dust. He buries his talent in the ground, in other words: he buries it in worldly business. He does not seek spiritual benefit. He cares only for his own earthly profit. What happened to this man who had one talent? He was afraid of taking a risk. He was afraid of following Christ, losing his own life. And therefore, he condemns himself: 'I knew that you were a hard master...' He was afraid of being true to his calling but he was not afraid of being lazy, idle, lukewarm servant: a life of pleasures in the world, thinking as the Psalmist says: 'God will not know...' It is a question of life and death as the parable reveals it to us: we must make a choice. Christian life is a choice. Love is a choice. It is even more than a choice: it is a risk.

Therefore, as St. Yared put it in his song, who would be the good and faithful servant who is faithful with few things and be put in charge of many things when God comes? Will you?

God bless.

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