Some scripture baffles me. I can read it a thousand times and hear a dozen sermons on a particular passage and my questions are never answered. Early this morning there was an ah-HA! moment and one particular verse that had eluded me for most of my life became inexplicably clear. And to share it, I need you to come with me on a journey inside my head.
Danger. Keep all arms and legs inside the car at all times. Make sure the harness is down and fully locked. No Smoking. No eating or drinking in the auditorium. Keep your seat-back upright. In the event we have to ditch, you’re on your own. Bring a sack lunch and some water because we may go long. Cue Rod Serling, here we go. Ne ne ne ne Ne ne ne ne Ne ne ne ne Ne ne ne ne :::twirly pinwheel thing spins::: … you have just crossed over into….
The Kingdom of Heaven.
“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. (15) “To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. (16) “Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. (17) “In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. (18) “But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. (19) “Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them. (20) “The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ (21) “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ (22) “Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ (23) “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ (24) “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. (25) ‘And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ (26) “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. (27) ‘Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. (28) ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ (29) “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. (30) “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:14-30 NASB)
Screeching halt! Back up. Beep beep beep beep beep beep. Read vv. 24-30 again for me to save space here and let’s pick at my brain. I never understood something here. If the master got his Talent back, the servant didn’t steal it, spend it on wanton nights of debauchery and food and drugs and cars, he protected the Talent in fact because it’s wasn’t his, WHY is he called wicked and worthless and cast into outer darkness? I’ve never heard an answer that satisfied the “WHY, God???” in me in that passage but He uncovered my eyes a while ago. This is for me personally, so you may have a different take on it and that’s fine. I’d love to hear from you about your thoughts. But here’s mine, in the order it came to me. Please pardon my pronouns. I am NOT talking to you, I’m role-playing. 😉
1. Fear. “I was afraid.” v.25. φοβέω, phobeō, G5399. Yep, the guy had a phobia. A fear that overrode good sense. A fear that has no real reason except to be afraid. According to Thayer’s definition it could have also meant to reverence or venerate, but in this context the guy was shaking in his sandals.
2. Excuses. “I knew you were a hard man and expected results from all that you do.” I strongly suspect that if this servant had even tried to gamble and win one ounce of profit and lost it all it would have been fine by his master’s thinking.
3. The servant knew better. “You ought to have put it in the bank and earned one cent of interest.” v.15 says the Master knew the servant had the ability.
4. “You knew what to do, you know I expect results, you could have done the easiest thing and kicked back and relaxed, but you were more concerned about you.”
YES! There we have an answer to the question I’ve had for ages. “Thou shalt not have any other gods…” Do you see why this servant is called “wicked”? He was only interested in protecting his own skin. He placed his desires above the desires of his master. He made himself to be god. Instead of at least trying, he did nothing but hide what the master had given him. He was fruitless.
The fruitless part I understood but there was always a hitch in my Spirit about that passage and there always seemed to be more to it than my mind could answer. Today, take a quick inventory of the gifts God has given to each of us. Which ones are we hiding behind the ones we’re using? What are we afraid of? if God is for us, who can be against us? And who do we think we are to not use them? God? Oh, please.
Now, out of my head! It’s going to take ages to clean up after y’all.