I. THE DANGER:
A. Beating Our Fellow Slaves—
Mistreating Fellow Believers
Matthew 24 speaks of the evil slave who "says in his heart, My master delays, and begins to beat his fellow slaves..." (vv. 48-49a). When we mistreat a fellow believer by criticizing, opposing, or despising him, that is to beat him in the eyes of the Lord. We have to say a strong word here. We can easily fall into this danger without any kind of realization. We can fall into criticizing the brothers and sisters. Sometimes we may oppose or despise some of the saints. Perhaps we would even fight against them. This is to beat the Lord’s slaves, who are our fellow slaves.
B. Eating and Drinking with the Drunken—
Keeping Company with People
Who Are Drunken with Worldly Things
Matthew 24:49b says that this evil slave "eats and drinks with the drunken." The Lord’s word in Matthew 24 is a parable. Since it is a parable, it must be interpreted. To eat and drink with the drunken is to keep company with worldly people, who are drunk with worldly things. They are drunk with their worldly enjoyment. This is the danger of not using our gift. Once we become a person who keeps company with worldly people, we would not be faithful to the Lord in using the gift He gives us, so we fall into danger.
C. Hiding Our Gift in the Earth
1. Being Passive, Not Active,
for the Lord’s Service
In Matthew 25:25 the slothful slave said to his master, "I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the earth; behold, you have what is yours." To be afraid is negative. We should, rather, be positive and aggressive in using the Lord’s gift. To go off and hide the Lord’s talent in the earth is too passive. We should be active in the Lord’s work. If we hide our gift, we do not need to do anything. To be passive and not active for the Lord’s service means we are hiding our gift and not using it.
(Basic Lessons on Service, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)