October 2016 Newsletter
How do you see God?
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. (Matthew 25:14-19)
In this parable, Jesus tells of a man who entrusts money to his servants so that they can do business for him while he is away. Clearly the master knew his servants and saw in them different degrees of ability to do business. Consequently, he chose to give them different amounts of money and, when he came back to settle accounts with them, the returns he received different accordingly.
Now two of the three servants presented to him 100% profit on what they had been given. So the master praises them for their efforts and rewards them. We are not told what motivated these servants to do well on their master’s behalf. Was it simply the selfish expectation of a reward for being faithful, or could it be that they wanted to please their master, because he had placed his trust in them?
What motivates us to work in God’s kingdom? Is it just the expectation of eternal life? Or do we serve God out of thankfulness for what He has done for us? Are we motivated by the fact that the Almighty has chosen us and counted us worthy to serve Him? Do we serve Him out of love, because He first loved us?
Servants who appreciate their master and feel honoured to serve him will always give their best, while those who serve simply for a reward will do as much as they have to and no more. Therefore it appears that the two servants who doubled the money entrusted were motivated by their appreciation for their master.
So what about the third servant? Instead of putting the one talent he received to work, he buries it in the ground, so as to return it the same as he had been given it. And when his master asks him how much profit he has made, he replies, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ Not only has he produced nothing for his master – he even blames the master for his lack of faithful service! Instead of feeling honoured by the call to serve, he justifies himself by accusing the master of being harsh and unfair – reaping where [he] has not sown, and gathering where [he] has not scattered seed.
How do you see God? As a task master who deals unfairly and expects things of you that He is not entitled to? Is serving Him nothing but drudgery? Do you do little or nothing in God’s kingdom, like this third servant, because you fail to appreciate what He has done for you and to recognise what a privilege it is to serve Him? Or are you motivated to give your all, like the first two servants, because you feel honoured to be a servant of the Most High? Our perception of God will determine our appreciation for Him and our motivation to serve Him faithfully.
When life seems hard and others seem to have a better deal than we do, let us not complain – rather let us look to the cross where Jesus gave all for us. And motivated by His sacrifice for us, let us give Him our all!