Nick Poindexter

My style's like a chemical spill

Tag: Servant

$9 Billion In Debt

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt… But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’
-Matthew 18:23-24, 27-28 (ESV)

In Matthew 18, we find Jesus telling a story often referred to as The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. The servant has a debt to the king of 10,000 talents, which is generously pardoned. That same servant, who was just freed from his bondage of debt, immediately tracks down another servant who owed him money, specifically 100 denarii.

The true essence of this parable can be lost if you don’t understand the significance of those two amounts.

First of all, a talent wasn’t a physical coin, but was considered to be 20 years worth of wages. For example, in the United States today, the average person makes $46,000 per year, which is $920,000 over 20 years. And this servant owed 10,000 times that amount… $9.2 BILLION! As for the 100 denarii, 1 denarius was equal 1 day’s wages, so that was equivalent to about 20 weeks worth of wages. Using the same $46,000 average would come out to about $18,000.

Look at it this way: the servant was over $9 billion in debt. That’s more than the gross domestic product of Madagascar! Or let me do the math for you: $18,000 is less than 0.000002% (2 millionths) of what he owned the king.

I know, I know… $18,000 is still a lot of money. When someone does you wrong, it hurts. No doubt about it. But it’s nothing compared to $9 billion.

Like the servant to the king, we were so far in the red to God that there was no way we could ever pay it back.  But he has wiped clean our insurmountable debt. Amazingly, instead of vengeance, God chose forgiveness.

So we must have that same attitude of mercy and grace toward others who are indebted to us. Because God has already done it for us on a much larger scale.

It’s the least we can do.

What You Do With What You Have

“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
-Matthew 25:24-27 (NIV)

In this story known as The Parable Of The Talents, Jesus tells of three servants who were made caretakers of different amounts of money (talents). The first two doubled their money, while the third chickened out and buried his in the ground. He is then immediately showered with flattering adjectives such as “wicked”, “lazy”, and “worthless”. That’s gotta sting.

Honestly, a part of me has always had a difficult time with this passage. On first glance, it sounds like the master was a little bit harsh. The servant gave him all of the money back, right? I mean, it’s not like he lost it all!

By comparison though, the two other servants were not referred to as “shrewd” or “profitable” as one would think, but were simply called “good” and “faithful”. Praise was given to them for their faithfulness, not their results. The point? What was wicked about the third servant was his inaction. In the eyes of God, that’s worse than us trying something on faith and completely messing it up.

We are called to invest what we’ve been given, whether that’s big or whether that’s small. How much we have is irrelevant. And if we do nothing with the God-given abilities, efforts, and finances that he has entrusted to us… If instead we hoard it up and hide them in the dirt… Then we are wicked, lazy, and ultimately worthless.

Because it’s not about what you have… It’s about what you do with what you have.

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