Hey, it is the time of the year (October) when the Nobel Prize winners names for 2020 are announced.
Now it is time to brace-up for some quiz time, folks, regarding the “dubious” history of the Nobel Prizes!
Who invented dynamite? Do I hear the answer? Alfred Nobel!
Yes, it is him alright. In fact, in 1867, Nobel received U.S. patent number 78317 for his dynamic invention. The fact that the explosive, invented for use in blasting rocks during mining operations, ended up as a destructive weapon used for destroying properties, limb and life, was not this brilliant scientist’s fault at all. Yet the all-too-surreal story behind the origin of the Nobel prize would have us believe so!
BOOM…in 1888, Alfred had a dubious distinction of reading his own unflattering obituary! Confused? Let me explain…. When Ludvig, Alfred’s brother, died, a French newspaper mistakenly ran an obituary for Alfred which called him the “merchant of death.” It went on to say, “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” This horrified Alfred. Not wanting to go down in history with such a horrible epitaph, Nobel created a will that soon shocked his relatives and led to the establishment of the now-famous Nobel Norwegian committee, which awards Nobel Prize “to all during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.”
Nobel’s last will left approximately 94 percent of his worth to the establishment of five prizes in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace. The prize for economics was not added until 1969. The Nobel prize is now awarded for several outstanding achievements, which have made this strife-torn, ailments-infested World “a better place to live in”. Couple this with the fact that it continues to inspire several to put their best foot forward in various worthy pursuits, and it stands as a shining testimony to a man who aspired to “live nobly even after his death” by recognizing and rewarding the noble deeds of his fellow mankind.
So coming to the spiritual realm (do I hear some of the readers saying, it is high time…), is there a Biblical account of the good Lord also recognizing and rewarding His faithful servants?
Welcome to the parable of talents. Welcome once again to that parable latent with lessons waiting to explode (SeeMatt 25:14-31/Luke 19:11-26). Though the central message of the said parable is similar in both the Gospels, one would observe some subtle differences between the two accounts. It needs to be noted here that the one recorded in Matthew’s Gospel was narrated in Jerusalem, while the one in Luke’s Gospel was related by the Saviour on the way to Jerusalem.
Since we started off with the Nobel story, this series of 3 parts will use the first two letters of this famed chemist’s name, “NO”, to outline each of the lessons to be derived from this “explosive” parable. Didn’t somebody say you have to blast before building? So here goes…
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability.” (Matt 25:14-15 NIV)
Firstly, this parable blasts the myth that there are Christians who with no talents. Scripture is explicit about the fact that none were left without a talent. Let’s also at this time, blast yet another myth that “talents” comprise only those of preaching, singing and the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit (Word of wisdom; Word of knowledge; Faith; Gifts of healings; Miracles; Prophecy; Distinguishing between spirits; and Tongues. See1 Cor. 12:7-11), which are guaranteed to bring one under public spotlight.
In case you are one who participates actively in one or all of the three “silent, behind the scenes” ministries of:
a) Intercession prayer: “Brothers and sisters, I beg you to help me in my work by praying to God for me.” (Romans 15:30 ERV);
c) Hospitality: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Heb 13:2 NIV)
take heart! You are lining up for yourself some very precious heavenly rewards. These ministries may not bring public approbation, but be encouraged to continue faithfully “investing these talents” for His glory, for the Master says, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” (Rev 22:12 NIV).
Prayer: Father, we praise and thank Thee for entrusting us with the “talents from above”. Enable us to use them faithfully. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unworthy servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Biblical Nobel Prizes” mini-series, please click here.)