Posted by: pmarkrobb | March 31, 2014

this story about bags of gold

I saw layers upon layers when I consumed yesterday’s reading (Matthew 25:14-30).  Just as every word that Jesus breathes possesses deep meaning, every story He tells has layers upon layers. 

In this story about bags of gold, I saw the truth of the uneven distribution of “wealth.”  This truth goes beyond the one we were all told as a child, that life isn’t fair.  This is the very real truth that God is not an “average” God.  There is no calculated sum of His “wealth,” and He does not divide it by the quotient of all souls for all time, to distribute it evenly among them.  Some are given more, period.  You or I might actually be one of them.  Some are given less, yes.  Does this story speak to us if we are one of those?

In this story about bags of gold, I also saw the fear of God.  Not the kind that is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), but the kind that is boldly illustrated in the servant who was given one bag.  In the narrative of that servant, I saw a view of God that I have possessed before, and would easily possess again, when I stray from walking in close communion with Him.  I saw an untrue and unhealthy type that is paralyzed by the fear that God will be angry if I lose even a “penny” of what He has given me.  And that fear goes far beyond “wealth” to the all-encompassing posture of cowering or hiding in the presence of a God I have just disappointed or failed.  Does this resonate in the past or present of your own life?  Do you see the first man and woman as the place where this thread that is common to all of us began?  Can you picture their hiding?  How about yours?

In this story about bags of gold, I saw that it is right and proper to place quotes around the “wealth” that Jesus uses as a central element in His parable.  In one very real sense, this story does speak to our stewardship of the material wealth which has been entrusted to us by the hand of our Creator.  I believe, however, this story about bags of gold speaks more so of the here and now, kingdom of God and the “wealth” that is our God-gifted talents and the Spirit within us.

Are we spending our wealth investing in the work of the kingdom … or are we hiding it?  Are we  crippled by the thought of being given less? Are we convinced that our portion is too small to be of any eternal good?  Are we fearful of failing the Master?

So much in so little.  This is true of this story, and so much more true of the potential we have with what we’ve been given, when we spend it in the work of the kingdom.  He is the one who does it, but He wants to do it with, and through us.  Whether 10 bags or 4, Jesus makes no distinction.  His answer to both servants (Matthew 25:21, 23) was exactly the same.  His rebuke and judgement was reserved for the servant who hid and returned only the original measure of his “wealth.”  What did you see in that story?  And what are you doing with the bag(s) of gold He has given you?

yeam_2014


Responses

  1. I am never so exposed as when I am hiding, and in my hiding my fears are multiplied. Thank you God for being one who knows all my hiding places and who brings me into the light and teaches me how to invest.

  2. I like your questions: (Thanks!)

    Are we spending our wealth investing in the work of the kingdom … or are we hiding it? Are we crippled by the thought of being given less? Are we convinced that our portion is too small to be of any eternal good? Are we fearful of failing the Master?

    And I am thankful that our Father will engage us with them. 🙂 Gladly reason with us among our observations, questions and wrong thinking. Examining together ourselves and Himself in the freedom that the cross has provided. It seems that the real issue in Matthew 25 is how we “know” Him. Do we know Him as He knows Himself, or is our “knowing” based on assumptions and presumptions that we and others have drawn conclusions from without discussing them with Him. Resulting in us not really knowing Him at all. It is interesting, and sad, to hear the 1 bag man say, I “knew” you are a hard man. He knew! And to hear the Master reply, you “knew” me? It does not appear that the 1 bag man set out to do wrong……or purposed to do wrong. He was simply responding based on what he “knew”, or thought he knew. And his “knew” was messed up! It reminds me of Matthew 7:23, where Jesus says, “Then I will tell them plainly. I never knew you.” I think, strongly inferring that the hearer never knew Him either.

    Jesus speaks again in John 17:3, saying, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” That we might “know” Him! The Master of Matthew 25. The One who gives and entrusts. Who does come back and settle accounts. (A good thing to those who “know” Him!) The One who encourages – well done; faithful servant. A sharer of His kingdom – put you in charge of many things. A sharer of His happiness and joy – share in my happiness, enter into my joy.

    Father, might I (we) know You more as You know Yourself. By Your grace and mercy, might I (we) examine with You my thoughts of who You are. The right. The wrong. The good. The bad. Might they all be touched by Your light and truth.

    Mark, thanks for directing my thoughts to these considerations. It has been good. 🙂

    Jerry


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