At the graduation ceremony at Dallas Theological Seminary, an allusion was made to “Well done, good and faithful servant,” at least three times. This phrase is from a parable Jesus told in Matthew 25 in which a man entrusts money to three servants in the hope that they will use it well in his absence. The two who invested are rewarded by their master and told, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
If we are the servants and God is the master, it’s a nice thought that we might be greeted by him in our resurrected bodies with this kind of affirmation. But the near obsession evangelicals have with this verse concerns me. It feels very close to a works-based faith and a desire that God see our actions, our ministry, our goodness, and commend us for it.
Or maybe I’m just wired differently, because if there is one thing I want to hear God say, it is, “I love you.” I’ve spent my whole life working to impress people. I live for approval, and I’m just self-conscious enough to crave constant compliments. That kind of affirmation is fleeting, and I am never satisfied. I don’t want to work for God’s affection. I don’t want his affection to be based upon my work. Continue reading