‘You wicked, lazy slave …’

” … to every one who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have will be taken away.  Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness: in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Mt 25: 26, 29, 30

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These quotes are from the story Jesus tells of the three servants who were given talents (money) to hold while the master was away.  (In this portion, the master is the speaker.)

In it, you recall that two of the servants used their talents to multiple their value, while the third simply dug a hole and placed the talents he had been given into the ground. The former had faith, and intellect and employed both – made the value of what they had increase; the latter lacked faith and ignored what intellect he had and the value of his gift did not increase.

This is a tough story with a tough content.  It asks very hard questions: do we have faith and do we employ the gifts we possess?

As our nation seems on the verge of an historic departure from its origin, its identity – from a place of liberty and free markets to a more centralized and socialized ethos – we might ask these questions of ourselves.

But first, why did the master say the third servant was “lazy” and see him as worthless?

Well, the story focuses on slothfulness – in this story that means our reluctance to live in faith which realizes that we are part of the good works that God has prepared for us.  (See: Eph. 2:8-10)

In a very real sense our unwillingness to faithfully advance God’s good works is a rebellion, a denial of God in favor of self.  Yes, it is an evil.

To comply with God goodness and gifts is to show our gratitude – our obedience; it is to be a good and faithful servant.

Yes, the starting point in this story is to ask: am I a faithful servant, cooperating with what God has given me to show His presence in this world so others might know Him and prosper so to glorify Him, encourage others to participate in His works, and to know His love of each of us?

Think about that in an individual context and as citizens of a uniquely blessed country, now on the edge of a radical and destructive departure from who we have been.

Nothing, of course, but chaos and destruction accompanies a departure from God.

Yes, servants all; we live in serious times.

Shalom.

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