His lord said unto him, Well done, 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 – Matthew 25:23
Meaning of Matthew 25:23
The meaning of the verse, ‘His lord said unto him, Well done, 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’ is that when one is faithful with less, he or she is blessed with more or favored by God. Verses 14-30 from Matthew chapter 25 are about a parable of a man who goes on a journey and entrusts his wealth to his servants, also known as the Parable of Talents. Two servants return more than they were given, and the man says that they will be entrusted with more since they were faithful with less. Hence, this story is a metaphor for God’s blessing, as God will bless those who prove to be trustable with less.
Interpretations of Matthew 25:23
Matthew 25:23 is a common verse quoted in churches. The verse is also widely misinterpreted in various ways. Here are some examples.
Interpretation #1 God is biased toward Christians
The interpretation of the verse, “His lord said unto him, Well done, 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” is that God shows favoritism towards Christian believers. Here the reader believes that God loves and blesses only Christians both materially and spiritually. While the Bible claims all men or humans to be equal despite show has no interest in people of other nationalities. Additionally, the verse also implies that only a Christian can enjoy and experience the presence of God, thus forming a relationship with Him. Hence, if a person believes in God but is not a Christian, they will not be given the material needs.
Interpretation #2 Christians are servants of God
In this interpretation, the reader believes that Christians are God’s helpers and are loved by God. The New Testament records the incident where Jesus washes the feet of His disciples, thus reducing Himself to the level of a servant. The reader understands that God loves Christians who play the role of servants in the true sense. An example would be a janitor who cleans and takes care of everything at church or a member of the church engaging in cleaning and arranging despite his or her position outside the church. Hence, the reader humbles herself or himself as a Christian to have the heart of a servant in order to be happy and experience God’s love and affection.
Interpretation #3 Servants can become Kings
The interpretation of the verse, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things” is that any servant can become a king or be in a higher position or a leader as long as she or he is faithful to God. The reader believes that God likes to bless His people abundantly, especially those who come from a lowly state where their positions are small and unadmirable. The Old Testament records the life of David and Moses who rose from nothing to being kings and leaders. David was a shepherd boy until God made him the king of Israel. Moses had to escape Egypt and live in the wilderness for 40 years and then was called to be the leader to free Israelites from the land of Egypt.
Interpretation #4 Christians must remain faithful to be happy
The meaning of the verse, “His lord said unto him, Well done, 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” is that Christians need to be faithful in order to be happy. The reader considers the ending of the verse ‘enter thou into the joy of thy Lord’ as the main requirement to be a believer. He or she believes that if a Christian fails to be trustworthy with what he or she is blessed with, their happiness will be taken away from them. A few churches teach that wealth and property are happiness factors for many and when it is taken away, it causes pain, lack, and sorrow. However, the reader chooses to have faith in hard times as a Christian must be, which leads them to accept their life as directed by God and be content and happy.
Interpretation #5 God blesses faithful and patient Christians
The interpretation of the verse, “His lord said unto him, Well done, 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” is that God chooses to bless Christians who are especially faithful and patient in all areas of life. The verse is a caution and promise to believers to be content and trustworthy in what they have so that God can bless them with bigger and greater things. When Christians become reckless with what they have, God will not bless them because he or she does not trust them. Additionally, being told well done by Jesus is a reward unto itself. Additionally, the reader here understands that the parable of Talents also encourages him or her to be wise. Additionally, a wise investment, hard work, and generous giving lead to God’s blessing, which is experiencing joy as a disciple of God is a better life.
Historical background of Matthew 25:23
The Gospel of Matthew is the first book in the New Testament of the Bible and one of the three Gospels. It talks about how Messiah, Jesus, comes to his people and chooses a group of disciples, teaches the mob through different events, how Israel becomes divided and how Jesus condemns hostile Israel. The twenty-fifth chapter consists of different parables meant to be moral or lessons for Christians to understand God better. The twenty-third verse is a promise for people who have been trustworthy with the small things in life to be blessed with greater and bigger things.
Literary Devices of Matthew 25:23
The verse of Matthew 25:23 is a promise to Christians and is often quoted in churches. The verse contains some significant literary devices. Here are some examples.
Theme – In the verse Matthew 25:23, the primary themes are faithfulness, joy, and blessings, while the minor themes include humility and patience.
Consonance – The verse Matthew 25:23 also has a rich use of consonance in the sentence with quick successions. For example, the sound of /d/ in ‘His lord said unto him‘ and ‘Well done, good and faithful servant‘; the sound of /l/ and /r/ in ‘I will make thee ruler over many things‘ and the sound of /t/ in ‘enter thou into the joy of thy lord‘.
Extended Metaphor – The entire verse is a perfect example of an extended metaphor. Here Jesus is using a parable of talents to explain the importance of learning, investing, and gaining financial blessing through that act.
Hyperbole – The verse Matthew 25:23 is also a good example of hyperbole as Jesus appears to exaggerate the phrase ‘I will make thee ruler over many things‘, which is unlikely. As God declares that He is the ruler over everything, it is impossible to make a man replace him. However, Jesus is talking about financial blessing and growth in whatever a person is pursuing with humility and faith.