The message was brought by Rev. James Childers.
Matthew 25: 14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Jesus is the man traveling to a far country. We are the servants. He has placed in our hands his goods—the Bible, the Holy Spirit, a church to worship in, and a family to raise and nurture in the Lord. I want you to see that it’s not the amount that the man gave his servants that is important. It’s what they did with it. More than anything else, when I leave this world by the way of death or the rapture, I want to hear the words well done, thou good and faithful servant. I’ve heard these words all my life, but the stark reality is that the Lord won’t say them to anyone who is not a good and faithful servant. He doesn’t lie. I want to speak tonight about being a good servant of Jesus Christ.
The book of Jonah is a picture of a good and faithful servant. IT’S NOT JONAH. Psalm 23 says he maketh me to lie down in green pastures and he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness. It’s better to be led by the Lord than made to do what he wants us to do. He can deal severely with us. God has a way of making us do what he wants. The first thing Jonah did was he paid the fare to go the opposite direction. The second—he prayed. The third—he preached. The fourth—he pouted. He tried to slip out but got swallowed up.
Jonah 1: 17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
That whale is the picture of a good and faithful servant. How? God didn’t put whales in the Bible by accident. Genesis 1:21 says God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. God prepared this great fish for Jonah. There are some monster whales. They can weigh 300,000 pounds. I don’t know how big this fish was, but it was where God wanted it. Let’s notice some things about the whale.
This whale was prepared by the Lord. No one can be a servant unless God prepares him. The average heart of a whale is about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and weighs 1,000 pounds pumping 5,000 gallons of blood every 24 hours. If you’re going to be a good servant, you’ll have to have a big heart. Sometimes it gets hard and cold and we block out all but our own world. We’re here to help those around us. We cannot serve the Lord without a big heart. I never dreamed I’d get old enough to see all the bad around us. It’s enough to turn us off to society. When folks do you wrong, you have to get over it. When my people come to me with some measly problem in the church that has ruffled their feathers, I tell them to get over it.
God prepared whales to sleep with one eye open. We can’t do that. A whale does it so he can be alert to dangers around him. I don’t know many things that would go after a big whale, but with one eye open he knows if a baby whale is hurt or in danger. If another whale has a need, he knows about it. Most church members are spiritually asleep. A lot can’t see God at work because of it. Be alert like a whale. The devil will set traps for us and we need to be alert.
God gave the whale a song. Scientists with sonar go to the depths of the sea and record the sounds whales make. They do so in melody and can be heard 300 yards away. The Bible is full of people who sang praises. Paul and Silas sang at midnight in stocks and bonds. The book of Mark tells us that at the Last Supper Jesus and the disciples sang a hymn before they went to pray. I ought to have a song I can sing to the world. A song came out years ago called “Mama’s Teaching Angels How to Sing.” No; she’s not. Angels sang as far back as the book of Job. They will sit while we sing the song of the redeemed. The angels are created beings and can’t sing the song we can. Don’t wait till you get to heaven to sing. Smile and sing now. Get a spring in your step when things are wrong and sing your song. God prepared the whale with a song. We need a song.
The whale was a good servant because it was where God placed it. It didn’t wander around aimlessly. It was at the right place at the right time. God puts people in our lives to prepare us for what’s down the road. We find people going from one church to another and the reason they state the most is “I just wasn’t getting fed.” I don’t remember one time mom asking us kids what we wanted to eat. Mom fixed supper. We ate it or went to bed hungry. Most times if you’re not getting fed, it’s because you don’t want to eat. Some people want to be spoon fed. This whale stayed where God wanted him to be. Peter got out of his place by warming himself by the devil’s fire. He ended up denying he knew the Lord. He had to repent. Elijah called fire from heaven and got out of place because a woman named Jezebel threatened him. God can take care of the Jezebels. Stay where God puts you.
This whale was prepared. It was placed. It was pleasing to the Lord. How? He pleased God by what he swallowed—Jonah. I can think of nothing worse than a backslidden preacher. As a child of God and a good servant, there are lots of things you’ll have to swallow. You don’t have to speak your mind. You have rights? The only right you have is to live for the Lord. You’ll have to swallow a lot of junk. I started a home mission church. The first Sunday there were 13 there; before the next Sunday 8 of those left. One Wednesday night nobody came. My wife and I visited those who didn’t show up and told them they had to get in or out if this was going to work. God began to bless, but I had to swallow a lot of junk. Sometimes you’ll have to bite your tongue.
The whale also pleased the Lord by what it spit up—Jonah. I’m sure he was as glad to get rid of him as Jonah was to get out of him. I know church members who harbor things they need to spit up. If you’re going to be a good servant, you’ll spit it up.
The whale pleased the Lord by swimming off. He didn’t stay around for an award or a pat on the back. He went on about his business and swam off. There are too many who can’t get rid of their pride. They have to be the boss. There is one star in the church and He is the Bright and Morning Star.
Nine hundred years later in the book of Matthew, Jesus remembered the whale. He said as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
God remembered the whale, and he will remember every good and faithful servant.