Parable of the Watchful Servants Life Lessons

The Parable of the Watchful Servants is also known as the Parable of the Watchmen and Parable of the Waiting Servants. This parable of Jesus is a reminder about the end times and is included in two Gospels of the Bible, Mark 13:32-37 and Luke 12:35-40.

Mark’s version is here, Mark 13:32-37 NIV:

The Day and Hour Unknown
32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

Man standing watch - Parable of the Watchman Lessons

What is the Moral Lesson of the Parable of the Watchful Servants?

Keep watch (stay diligent in our faith) while we wait for our Master (Christ) to return. We don’t know the day or the hour, so be ready and prepared for when He comes, even if during the night.

What is the Context of the Parable of the Watchful Servants?

In Mark 13:1-31, Jesus describes the destruction of the temple and signs of the end times. He explains the circumstances that will accompany His return to earth and the gathering of His elect – His chosen people. He warns His disciples that others will come in His name to try to deceive them.

Jesus tells His disciples that the Son (He) doesn’t know when it will happen, only the Father knows. Therefore they should stay alert. This leads to the Parable of the Watchman. The servants don’t know when their master will return, so they must remain ready, no matter the day or the hour.

The parable of the Watchman describes that only those whose hearts are ready and aligned to Christ when He returns will find eternal salvation.

What can Christians Learn from the Parable of the Waiting Servants?

Christians can be inspired by the Parable of the Waiting Servants that if they remain faithful in their journey for Christ, they will be prepared when the unknown hour arrives and they will be blessed with eternal salvation.

The Parable of the Watchful Servants Lessons

When Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples, He also had important lessons for us today. Here are a few to help guide you in your Christian journey.

1. The Faithful Are Saved!

The Parable of the Watchmen is a hopeful parable in that it reminds us that our faithfulness to God (Christ) will be rewarded with eternal salvation. It’s the goal of our Christian journey to spend eternity with our heavenly Father and this is our promise that it will happen.

2. The Unfaithful Are Not

The flip side of the message is one that we don’t like to think about. That is, if the faithful are saved, it means that the unfaithful are not saved. This sobering message helps motivate us to stay diligent in our Christian journey – to stay alert and aligned to Christ, even when we grow weary and want to live according to worldly ways. 

As faithful Christians, this message also reminds us to lead people to Christ so that all may be saved.

3. Waiting Is Hard

When we first give our hearts over to Christ, our motivation to please Him and stay aligned to Him is strong! We’re full of excitement and desire to please Him. We’re determined to build our lives in service to Him and align our will with His. But then life happens. Time passes. Worldly pressures set in and our priorities get pulled in all different directions. We grow weary of waiting. We want to take the easier route.

Waiting is hard. Staying on the Christian course is not always easy. You’ll be tempted to take one step away from Christ – and that one step leads to another – and then another. Before you know it, you’ve fallen asleep and your eyes are no longer on Christ.

The Parable of the Waiting Servants warns us that the journey will be tiresome and we’ll be tempted to stray and fall asleep. Let this message keep you mindful when you feel yourself growing weary.

4. The Day And The Hour Are Unknown

We all know that our time on Earth is limited. None of us know the day and the hour our lives, as we know them, will end. In the same way, we don’t know when human life, as we know it, will end. 

As Christians, we live in the hope of Christ’s resurrection. Whether we live until the end times or to the end of our natural lives, our goal is to stay diligent in our faith, so our hearts are ready for Christ when He returns.

5. We Will Not Expect Him

Luke 12:40 NIV states: You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

It’s easy to be ready when we expect company. It’s easy to stay on our best behavior when we know we’re being watched or when we’re in the presence of others.

But Christ will come at a time when we don’t expect Him. Imagine that He walks in the room just when you’re nagging your spouse. Or He shows up when you’re berating the waitress for your coffee being cold. 

We’re not perfect and we sin. It’s human nature and Jesus understands human nature. But we can be best-prepared for Christ’s return (and for following Him throughout our lives) when we keep Christ in the forefront of our minds. When Christ becomes part of our everyday lives, we’re more likely to love one another as He asked us to do. When we strive to live our lives according to His will, we will have the greatest chance of being ready for His return.

Focus on living your life with Christ in your heart and you won’t have to worry about “being prepared for His return”. You’ll just always be ready – and pleasing Him with your life along the way.

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Commentary: Mark 13 and Luke 12: Parable of the Watchful Servants

Find The Parable of the Watchful Servants (Parable of the Watchmen and Parable of the Waiting Servants) Commentaries at Bible Study They include free and paid versions. For this article, I referred to Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary.

This post may contain affiliate links. This is my full disclosure.

Photo by Arina Krasnikova.

More Parables!

Do you love the parables as much as I do? You may enjoy reading life lessons on these others (listed below), these activities for adults and children, or this list of Parables and Meanings. More parable lessons are underway. See them all HERE!

Do you love journaling? Does writing down your personal reflections help you process your thoughts more fully? Perhaps these Christian writing journals will be helpful as you reflect on the life lessons of the parables.

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