What can I do to one day hear, 'Well done, good and faithful servant' when I get to heaven?

The phrase "Well done, good and faithful servant" comes from Jesus' parable of the talents in Matthew 25. He tells of a master who left three servants in charge of some of his wealth. One of the servants did nothing to grow the investment. Two of them were productive caretakers and heard these words from their master. Many of us long to hear the same from God. So what must we do?

First and most important, you must believe. Hebrews 11:6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." Believe that Jesus is the Son of God, died for your sins, and rose from the dead; put your faith in Him. He offers you forgiveness of your sins and right relationship with God.

John 3:16–17 tells us, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." Acts 2:21 affirms, "And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

It is not our good works or caretaking of the truth that saves us, but grace (Ephesians 2:8–9). Even so, we are saved to do good works. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." When we put our faith in Christ, we are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Holy Spirit takes up residence in us and begins to transform us to be more like Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). We are good and faithful servants when we cooperate with God's work of sanctification in our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24), seeking His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

A good and faithful servant seeks and serves the Lord. Here are just a few examples of how we can do this:

Study God's truth. Second Timothy 3:16–17 says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

Put God's truth into action. Tell others the Good News. Jesus left His disciples with a command to tell others about His saving grace and goodness and to make disciples of them (Matthew 28:18–20).

Offer assistance to those less fortunate (1 John 3:17; James 1:27; 2:14–17).

Forgive those who harm you. This instruction can be found in the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6:12) and elsewhere (Matthew 18:21–22; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13).

Help those around you. Paul wrote the Galatians that to "fulfill the law of Christ" Christians should "bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2). He also wrote, "So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10).

Fellowship with other Christians and encourage one another in the faith (Hebrews 10:24–25).

Set your mind and heart on God. Rather than seeking earthly treasures, pursue that which has eternal value and store up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19–21).

Remember that everything that is good that happens to you or comes your way, is due to God and His blessing (James 1:17). Give Him continual praise and thanks (Philippians 4:4–7; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Obey. God desires you to follow Him. He has communicated with you through the Bible, His Word, and by the Holy Spirit. "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). The New Testament is replete with practical instructions for living the Christian life—ways to love and honor God and ways to love and honor others. As we abide in Christ and learn to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can be fruitful (John 10:1–11; 16:7–15; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

To please God and hear these words from Him, you must know Him. The best ways to know Him better are to read and study the Bible (both alone and with others), worship Him in community, spend time with Him in prayer, and ask Him for guidance.

Second Peter 1:3–8 reminds us that God equips us to be faithful servants and gives us instructions for how to live a life that is fruitful for Him: "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

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