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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Master's Wealth

Jesus told a story about a man who was going on a journey and before he left he entrusted some of his wealth to 3 of his servants. To one he gave 3 portions and to another 2 and to the third a single portion of his wealth, to each according to their abilities. Then he went away.

Each of the servants did something with the portion of the master’s wealth that they were given. In the end the master returned and their performance was the basis for their reward.

It is probably important to realize that this is one of a series of stories Jesus was telling to illustrate what the Kingdom of heaven is like. Each of these stories demonstrated the importance of our behavior when the time for judgement comes. We will be judged and rewarded according to what we do! These are the words of Jesus
Two of the servants doubled the treasure of the master and one only hid the treasure so he could return it to his master when he returned.

What is this about?

How can it apply to my daily life?

I have not been satisfied with any answers I have heard over the years. The King James Bible and many of the other newer translations have unfortunately made an unfortunate translation that I suspect may have been misused to suggest that the wealth of the master had something to do with talents or abilities. The Greek word would be spelled TALENTON. Therefore rather than translate the word scholars simply spelled it like an English word that they could explain as it was convenient for them. The Greek word actually simply means a certain sum of money.

As I said at the beginning, the master distributed portions of his wealth to each of 3 of his servants. If the story is to help us understand what the kingdom of Heaven is like, wouldn’t it seem logical to assume that the master represents Jesus? What then of the portions of his wealth? These were each servants of the master (Jesus). What does God give us when we come to him to be born again into his kingdom? A very precious gift, He gives each of us his Holy Spirit to live inside of us to guide us into all righteousness. (John 14:22)

As we learn to listen to the Spirit of God who lives in us whole dimensions of life become available. Not least is the power to stop choosing sin and to choose obedience to God instead. But these treasures never become real for us if we do not take the gift of God and cultivate that gift in our daily life. In that case, when the master returns and asks what we have done with his treasure, he will take the treasure away and cast us into outer darkness.

But if we have worked to cultivate that spiritual relationship and have increased it even a little he will be pleased with us. But we each must work to the best of our ability.

These stories of Jesus are a frightening contrast to the teaching that Jesus did it all and there is nothing for us to do. Certainly we could never earn the gift of forgiveness we could never balance the scale. That is the wonderful mercy of God. We could never overcome one sin without the help of the Spirit of God working in our lives. But this story clearly tells me that I do have work to do and if I neglect that work the consequences are severe.

Let us each one work to cultivate our relationship with our Heavenly Father, with our Savior Jesus the Christ and with the Holy Spirit that lives within us.