Devotion for November 21-23, 2017

For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Matthew 25:29

We often think of Jesus coming in His earthly ministry and bringing with Him a call to be a great equalizer. We think of how He speaks of the last being first and the first being last. We remember how He calls us to give someone not just our tunic, but our cloak as well. We can’t help but recall how graciously He spoke of the poor and of the duty of a Christian to care for those lacking in their needs. So, why in Mathew 25 is He saying that those who have will be given more and those who have little will lose even what they have? That doesn’t sound like Jesus at all does it? But yet, here He is and the words are coming from His mouth.

To understand, we have to look at the context. He says these words after having just told the parable of the talents. This is the story that Jesus tells about servants who are given talent coins from their master which they are to invest while the master is away. One servant is given five talents, another two, and the last, one. While the master was on his journey, the first two servants doubled the investment. So, the first returned ten talents to the master, while the second returned four. The last one, however, fearing the wrath of the master should he lose the talent, buried it and returned it to him. The master was most un-pleased, and gave that talent to the one who had ten.

From a human perspective, this makes sense, doesn’t it? The servant who showed faithfulness in a little and is given even more, but the one who showed faithlessness in a little lost even that responsibility. But in Jesus’ teaching this doesn’t seem to make sense. It doesn’t seem fair, does it?

It’s not. At least for Jesus. You see, these talents were given to the servants by the master. It wasn’t something they had earned or deserved. This opportunity was a form of a gift. In the same way our Heavenly Father gives us faith as a gift. We haven’t deserved it. We have only deserved the ultimate destiny of the least of the servants: to be cast into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. That is what our sins of thought, word, and deed have earned us. But Jesus has died for those sins, shedding His blood that we would be forgiven. Now, in that forgiveness of His resurrection, all that we have from God is pure gift-even our faith in Him. In this gift of faith in Christ, the fruit of our labors for God’s Kingdom-another gift from God Himself-are seen by God and are rewarded by Him. In particular, they will be rewarded by Him on the Last Day, when Jesus comes back. That is an amazing and blessed gift, isn’t it? It’s not fair. It’s immeasurably generous. When we understand that, we see just how loving our God is.

Blessed Lord, You have given me innumerable gifts. Bless me in Your mercy to use those gifts faithfully, knowing that Your love for me in Jesus is something beyond measure, thought, or understanding. Amen.