Take a moment to read an interesting reflection found on TheJustLife.org
The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, the parable of the talents, and an old joke you’ve all probably heard might help us ponder what it means to be a steward of what God has given us.
Recall the story about the feeding of the five-thousand (Mathew 14:13-21). The disciples brought complaints about the hungry multitude to Jesus, and he responded compassionately by blessing the bit’s of food from a boy’s lunch – five loaves of bread and two fishes. “Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people”). Now imagine a scenario in which the disciples just kept thanking Jesus for all the bread and fish – without passing them along to the people. Imagine the disciples starting to be overwhelmed by the piles of multiplying loaves and fish surrounding them, yelling out to Jesus, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!” all the while never passing along the food to the people. And beneath the mounting piles of food, the disciples even could be heard complaining to Jesus that he wasn’t doing anything about the hungry multitude.
Now look again with fresh eyes at the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-28). In this parable the Master entrusts three servants with different amounts of His wealth. Each does as he thinks best and when the Master returns he commends the two who multiplied His wealth “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!” He then chastises the one who did nothing of use with the talents trusted to him and subsequently takes them from him to give to the faithful stewards.
Clearly, a lot of lessons are meant to be learned from this parable – however, even the “wicked, lazy” servant had the sense to say “see, here is what belongs to you.” What would we say of this servant or of a fourth servant who took the wealth entrusted to him and spent it on himself? Not just the profit, but all of what was put in his charge? What would the Master say or do to return and find His wealth that was entrusted to His servant squandered as if it was the servant’s to do with as he wished for himself. As the richest Christians in human history have we spent the Masters wealth that has been entrusted to us on ourselves by way of our homes/cars/clothes/etc. We know everything we have belongs to God and is to be counted as a blessing, but do we see that blessing as deserved or undeserved? What do our actions and attitudes reveal? Are we the “fourth servant,” can we at least say to God “here is what belongs to you?”
An old joke used by many as a sermon analogy about how God works in this world provides us with more to think about. The joke is retold here:
One day there was this preacher and he was having his usual sermon when all of a sudden it started raining, really, really, hard! After about one full hour of complete non-stop rain, they started making evacuations because the whole church was flooding, but the preacher just stood there in the ankle-deep water.
A guy in a car came up to him and said. “Preacher, Preacher you better get in here before you drown!” But the preacher just replied “Don’t worry God will save me.” The man then said “Whatever!” and drove away.
The water was now knee-deep and a guy in a raft came over to the Preacher and said “Preacher, Preacher you better get in here before you drown!” Despite the second warning the Preacher just stood there and replied “Don’t worry God will save me.” The man then said “Whatever!” and rowed away in the orange raft.
The water was now waist-deep and a guy in a power boat came to the Preacher and said “Preacher, Preacher you better get in here before you drown!” Despite the third warning the Preacher just stood there and replied “Don’t worry God will save me.” With that the man said “Whatever!” and jetted away in the power boat.
The water was now neck-deep and a guy in a helicopter came and said “Preacher, Preacher you better get your butt in here before you drown!” The man still just stood there and replied “Don’t worry God will save me.” And with that the man said “Whatever” and flew away.
The water then got so deep that the Preacher was sucked under and died. When he opened his eyes he noticed that he was in heaven. He then saw God and asked, “God! Why didn’t you save me from that horrible flood?” God then replied, “I sent you a car, a raft, a power boat, and a helicopter! What else do you want from me?”
Indeed it is reasonable to conclude that God wants those who are dying in a world of plenty to be cared for. The amount of injustice and suffering in this world can be overwhelming, even angering, as we wonder how a good God could allow so much pain. Many have thought this to be good question to ask of God when we meet Him in heaven “why did you allow for such injustice in the world.” Many more would not dare to ask such a question in fear that God will ask us the same thing (read again Matthew 25:31-46, which incidentally immediately follows the parable of the talents). As we cry out for justice is it possible that God is saying “I’ve given you the wealth, the knowledge, the peace, and all the means to accomplish these things – what else do you want from me?”
What does the LORD require?
Written by Brian Kammerzelt