I tried to get my words to come clear, above the choking tears that threatened to torrentially downpour out of my eye-spigots. It’s a hard thing to communicate when you feel, deeply, as though your heart is splitting open as you speak.
I was relating to the parable of the talents, specifically to the one who was given one talent and hid it. The story is found in Matthew 25: 14-30. If you don’t know the story, you should pause from reading this, and go read something much more precious and valuable.
In the story, Jesus teaches us about the Kingdom of heaven, through the practical story of a Master (representing God) and His three servants (representing the people that He created, and by nature has dominion over!).
When the master heads out of town, He entrusts three of His servants with talents. It would appear that talent is symbolic of money or some sort of resources, but I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the English translations of the Bible all seem to use the word “talent”, as though our gifts and talents are given for us to be faithful with and multiply blessings in the world around us, for God to be honored with upon His return.
Two of them honored the master and invested the talents in order to multiply them. They were blessed by the Master upon His return.
The last servant is the one that had me choking back violent sobs. When the Master returns, this is what he says to justify having wasted his time/life/talents… “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours’.” (Matt. 25:24-25). I wept because this guy’s perspective of God was so, so wrong! And I have so many friends like that! So many people that I love who think that God is a hard taskmaster. Who think that God reaps where He does not sow, as though creating the world with such intentionality and purposeful glory doesn’t entitle Him to everything. And if that wasn’t enough, He poured Himself into human form to die on a cross. In my estimation, we owe Him our very breathe… and all our talents.
But because this wicked slave had a wrong understanding of how good and gracious his Master was, he betrayed Him. He wasted his life. He went about his own business, not realizing that the Master’s business and blessing was FAR more important than whatever he felt like doing with his own days.
I weep because I have so many friends like this wicked slave, spending their lives on things that don’t matter for eternity. Rejecting the Messiah-Creator who loves and cherishes them because somewhere along the way, they got it in their head that He is a hard man, rather than a Faithful Lover of His Image-bearers! And I weep because I wasted and destroyed years of my life, because I thought He was cruel. Yet He was so merciful to show me His true nature before I also had to face Him, hear the rebuke and be cast into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
If God seems cruel to you, let’s talk. Or better yet, read the Gospels (my personal favorite is the book of John, but the rest of them are pretty great, too). But please, don’t waste any more of your days thinking God is cruel, or spending your moments on the temporal, when you could inhabit eternal bliss! He is so much more sweet and lovely than all the treasures of this entire planet! He is so kind and tenderhearted towards any and all who come to Him.
We get so wrapped up in this world, and honestly, knowing that our life is His’ is keeping a lot of us sane right now. There is so much terror on the horizon, but I am fully confident, like these first two slaves, that my Master is returning, and all my life belongs to Him, so regardless of what lies in my near and temporal future, I have a Hope that far outweighs any of the menacing threats before me. All of this brings tremendous peace, because I know my God to be a kind, faithful, tender, intimate Friend and King! And I await the day when He will smile over me and I can hear the sweetest words ever spoken, “Well done, good and faithful servant…. Enter into the joy of your Master.”
Space Welch- August 3rd, 2020