In the concluding part of our series on the Biblical equivalent of the Nobel Prizes story – The Parable of the Talents, today we shall focus on the final two lessons derived from said Parable…
“…the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'” (Matt. 25:19-21 NIV)
“The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.'” (Luke 19:16-17 NIV)
Boom! At this stage, if I were to coin a phrase and say that our God is a “God of Imbalance”, would it not be revolting, seemingly at direct odds not only with the tone and tenor of the essay so far, but also with that of the Scriptures, which have always portrayed Him as a balanced and an orderly God (See1 Cor. 14:33)? Oh there are umpteen instances of His balance borne out of infinite wisdom exhibited in several spheres such as:
a) the “reverse breathing mechanism” He has established, balancing plant life with animal life;
b) being balanced in taking care of both the spiritual and bodily needs of His followers (SeeMark 6:30-44);
c) suggesting a perfect balance in discharge of financial responsibilities towards God and the Government (SeeMatt. 22:15-22).
But give Him a loud hallelujah, for He does indeed become “imbalanced”, only and only when our personal benefit is at stake! Take, for instance, “our wages” for sinning: “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.” (Psalm 103:10 NKJV).
At a time when our sins require a severe punishment, He chastises us just enough to bring us back on track, as any loving father would (SeeHeb. 12:5-11).
Then what about the “rewards being not in proportion to known sources of efforts for Him” (thanks IT Department)? Now coming to our “rewards scene” in the parable of talents…. Pray tell, is there any co-relation (however remote) between minas and cities? For earning merely “10 minas”, we are who are faithful are being guaranteed a reward of — oh boy, oh boy — ten cities! This scene is the very definition of tilted scales of justice of the positive kind.
Even on this side of eternity, the Lord provides wondrously for us, and in the other side of eternity, boy, the blessings and rewards He has in store for us are simply mind-boggling. No wonder the Prophet Isaiah declares and Apostle Paul reaffirms, bringing to light the true meaning of the Old Testament Prophet’s declaration, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man. The things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9 NKJV. See alsoIsaiah 64:4)!
Dear Child of God, even as you take inventory of your life so far, is not your experience similar to mine? Is it not both comforting and reassuring to know that we have been punished far less for our sins of commission or omission, and that our meager efforts (relatively speaking) for His Kingdom, have fetched us rewards far beyond our expectations? The Good News to top it all is that the best (far more precious than any Nobel Prize) is yet to come….
“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!…And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'” (Matt 25:24, 30 NIV)
Remember, too: “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (James 4:17 NIV)
The scene of the Master blasting the lazy, excuse-prone third servant leaves none in doubt that there is no place for sloth in God’s scheme of things. Despite seeing the diligent co-workers at work and given the long rope (for the Master came after a long time) to mend his ways, this sluggard had scant regard for the Master’s business, and the Master rightly took him to task for ignoring His tasks. That brings us to a subject within a subject. Sins of “commission” and sins of “omission”.
Is it not relatively easy to be wary about the sins of “commission”? Although we are careful about not committing murder, theft, adultery, do we not often get tripped up by more subtle sins of omission? God is just as critical of the latter as He is of the former, as the above Scripture portions so amply reveal.
The parable of the Good Samaritan is yet another pointer to God’s mind on this theme. Just as Jesus was appreciative of the Good Samaritan, wasn’t he critical of the indifferent temple priest and the Levite?
Finally, coming to the ‘sheep and goat ‘ judgment, (SeeMatt. 25:31-46), which immediately follows the Parable of talents as though to emphasize a point both literally and figuratively, what does Jesus accuse the goats on His left hand of? The sins of “commission”? Murder, theft, adultery? No! Rather, He accuses them of sins of “omission”, of acts they they knew they had to do but didn’t!
The words of Jesus mentioned there should always ring in our ears: “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me…“ (Matt. 25:42-43 NIV)
What about, “I kept sending you Bible-based/spiritual e-mails, but you never even cared to reply to encourage me…” Boom! Now who whispered this into my ear?
Prayer: Father, we eat, breathe and drink for Your glory alone. Inspire us to go about investing Your talents for Your Glory with due diligence. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries