Friday, July 18, 2014

Morning Thoughts

I woke up this morning with this verse in mind:
"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.
You have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much. 
Enter into the joy of your master.' "
Matthew 25:23

I can't even remember the last time I read this verse, so I'm not sure why it came to my mind this morning, but it did get me thinking. This verse is found twice in the parable of the talents. This is a parable about a master who was going away for a while, so he entrusted some of his money to a few of his servants. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one. The servants who were given five and two doubled the money by the time their master returned. The servant given one, buried his in the ground, for fear of losing it. Okay, so here is a parable about money and within this parable we find the verse above not once, but twice as a response to the two who doubled the money they were given to look after. Naturally, we look at this parable and this verse and think Jesus is talking about what we do with our money or treasure.

Only this morning, when this verse came to mind, immediately I thought - "What if this has nothing to do with money at all?" You see, money is OUR treasure. It is something we value and hold up as something of worth. It would have been valuable to the master spoken of in this parable, which is why he was pleased when his servants used it and did well with it. But this is a parable. Jesus used parables to teach about heavenly principles, though many missed the point. I fear we are missing the point. 

I have even heard some teach that it's not necessarily speaking about money, but it could be the talents God has given us, or even children or a myriad of other things that are indeed blessings. But what if it's none of those things at all?

What if Jesus is speaking what He considers valuable? In this parable it is clear that God is the Master represented, so wouldn't the treasure he entrusted to his servants follow with what God considers treasure? 

So what is God's treasure that He rewards those who use it well? Faith. 

Consider the words in the verse "good and faithful servant", "faithful over a little".

He is rewarding those who have faith. What is He rewarding them with? More faith. 

Ok, so maybe that's a little confusing, but hang with me here. When is God most glorified in our lives? When we have faith. 

We can look at this and think, "Well, the times I need to have the most faith are in times of trial and suffering. Does that mean He's going to reward me with more suffering?" Maybe. That's probably not the answer you want to hear, but if God is most glorified in your life in times of suffering, and that is when you exhibit faith most clearly, than yeah it might mean more suffering. Let's be honest, this is probably true for most of us, but that does not discourage me. Why? Because I think of the apostle Paul, and the many other missionaries and believers who have suffered tremendously because of their faith, but through it all, God was glorified.

So what if it does mean suffering? We could have the attitude of Paul and say "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:10. Or we could allow that to scare us, because, let's face it, we don't like having to suffer.

This morning I woke up with these thoughts on my mind. Again, I hadn't read that passage in God knows how long - seriously, He is the only one who knows how long, but with it these thoughts of Paul and suffering. This may seem somewhat depressing to some, but I was encouraged. I was encouraged because of the truth that when I am faithful, He rewards with more faith. That may include more times of trial, hardship, suffering, etc. to exhibit that faith, but I'm ok with that. Because He is ALWAYS faithful.

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