In interpreting Scripture the first thing to ascertain is, what is the mind of the Spirit; and, secondly, what is its present application. Many an unprofitable discussion would be spared if these principles were borne in mind. Thus, to refer at once to the question received concerning the parable of the talents, it is to travel wholly outside of the object of the parable to enquire whether the unprofitable servant was, or was not, a saved man (the same remark applies to Luke 12:45, 46), because it deals simply with the responsibility of servants and their faithfulness or unfaithfulness as such. At the same time, if the question be urged, it is inconceivable that a servant, however unfaithful, if a saved soul, could be cast into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, or could have his portion with unbelievers. But it is objected that no one, unless converted, could be really a servant. This is true, only it must be remembered that God takes us all up on the ground of our profession. Every preacher therefore in Christendom, as well as everyone who undertakes any responsibility in connection with the house of God, will be treated as a servant, and be reckoned with as such at the Lord's appearing. (Compare 1 Cor. 3:12-17.) It is on this account that the apostle bids us to purge ourselves out from among the vessels of dishonour in 2 Tim. 2. Recollecting this, we may well be led to searchings of heart, and to look for grace to use whatever the Lord has entrusted to us, whether gift or anything else, for His service, in view of the reckoning of that day when He will appraise our stewardship according to His own perfect standard of infallible knowledge. Oh that each one of us may earnestly crave for the commendation, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," in that day.
A better translation of the last clause of this verse is, "I will counsel thee with Mine eye upon thee" (R. V.). This is given in two other well-known versions, with slight verbal differences. The sense is exceedingly beautiful, inasmuch as it represents God, interested in all that concerns His people, looking down upon them, to guard and to guide them in His paths. How blessed! And with what confidence we may repose in His watchful care!