Sunday, August 30, 2015
Sunday message- a tale of two parables.
This morning, I asked the Lord to hear from Him, and got Luke 19. Half of that passage is dedicated to the story of the three servants who got money to do business with from their master, and one of them hid it rather than do something with it. And believe me, I get what the Lord was saying to me there- on the surface. "Stop being unprofitable!" And that's what you get when you spend a whole week ignoring your Bible, "getting by" with just prayer. But as I read I came across one of those humbling "I don't know the Bible as well as I should" moments.
Did you know that there are two basically the same but in fact completely different versions of this story? The other is in Matthew 25. A lot of big differences in the two. Luke's story has 10 servants getting the same amount each- a Mina, which wasn't a whole lot. Matthew has but three servants, and they get varying amounts according to their abilities- but the base unit is a Talent, which is (looked it up) about 60 times a mina. (Since money went by weight back then, a talent comes out to 71 pounds- explaining why Matthew's bad boy buried it in the ground rather than wrapping it in a handkerchief like Luke's.) Matthews bad boy got cast into the outer darkness, not Luke's. That there is a big difference, and set me on a quest to know why.
First of all, Luke's "master" is a king, and he adds that the citizens wanted to get rid of Him. The reward for investing the minas wisely was the rule over cities in the Kingdom. And while the bad boy lost his money, it was the rebel "citizens" that got the "outer darkness" (actually, the King ordered them "slain before Him".) Now, I see that as symbolic of the whole earth. I can see the rebel citizens as the unbelievers, while Christ gives a certain amount of gifts to every believer. He expects us to grow those gifts, and if we don't we may end up one of those "saved, but as though from a fire" mentioned by Paul in I Cor. 3:15- yes we're saved, no, our reward won't be anywhere near as good. Here is why I think I got sent here. My salvation may be assured... but my reward could be in trouble for my sinful laziness.
But Matthew's view is different. His servants- not a bunch of them like Luke's but a select number- were given special gifts according to their abilities- also in contrast to Luke. And the penalty for doing nothing is apparently MUCH higher. Why is that?
So I asked, "Is it the audience that's the difference? In Luke, Jesus is speaking BEFORE making that last trip to Jerusalem, to a general audience of the people that had been following Him. In Matthew, Jesus is already through the Triumphal Entry, and has started teaching in Jerusalem, when during a private moment with the twelve, they had started asking Him questions about the end times. So, they got the special "the gang with gifts" version. They had more expected of them as teachers, as leaders, and thus their responsibility was much greater than that of the "run of the mill" follower.
The Body Of Christ has different parts. And sometimes I fail to do my part because of my head knowledge, because I'm "special", because God gives me a voice to share here. But guess what? I got directed to Luke rather than Matthew (and thank God for that) because I AM just a run of the mill joe, who doesn't know as much as he thinks he does, and needs to be in the Word every day. I may not be someone who thinks, "Gee, I can't wait to run a whole city for Jesus,", I can't be wrapping my Bible in a kleenex, either. Stop thinking you're an Apostle and be a good follower.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Mina I need to deposit in the bank...