“Who then is that faithful and wise servant whom his lord has made ruler over his household to give them their portion of meat in due season?” (Matthew 24:45).
Two things mark a true servant, and these are faithfulness and wisdom.
He is not spoken of in this passage as either successful or gifted, but as “faithful and wise.”
All may not be apparently successful, nor specially gifted, but all are expected to be both faithful and wise.
He who is “faithful” to the interests of his lord is reliable and worthy of trust; he who is “wise” is obedient and intelligent; and these are, surely, the two qualities most sought for in a servant.
Thus in 2 Timothy 2 we read that the aged Apostle charged his son in the faith to commit what he had learned to “faithful men,” while he himself was to carefully “divide the word of truth.” He was to be wise. The Apostle was about to leave the field of his abundant labours, where he had been counted faithful himself, as he had also been a wise master-builder in the house of God; and in his deep solicitude for the welfare of the church for which he had spent all his energies, he counsels Timothy to esteem faithfulness and wisdom in the work and testimony of the Lord as the very highest qualifications.
Fidelity is of more value than outward and visible success, and wisdom than the most brilliant gift, as 1 Corinthians 13 shows. There may be much of what passes as success where there is little heart-faithfulness to God, little self-denial, little personal communion with the Lord, little separation from the world and its ways, little true submission to the word of God, and little prayer.
There may also be gift with little fear of the Lord, a covert love of flattery and much vainglorious self-importance, which, in result, only weaken and distract. On the other hand, where there are faithfulness and wisdom, the Master can count on the accurate accomplishment of His will. He can count not only on the portion of meat being given to the “household,” but also that it is given in “due season.” When faithfulness and wisdom are rightly blended together the work is not only done, but done well.