Who, and what, do we really think this wonderful “God” is all about?
Omnipotent? All powerful? A fearsome God who could smite me dead if He wished? A God who is saving up all my transgressions for the walk of shame? Are my sins really washed away, or just filtered and packed away for later? Better be good or I’ll be fried! Better be good or you’ll be fried!
We seem to cling to that reality like a talisman. Or why is there so much emphasis on the stick rather than the carrot? Be good, believe, do good works, have faith, fight the good fight, love one another, go and makes disciples … or else!
Just who do we imagine our God is really all about?
“While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’ “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’ “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’ “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’ “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’ “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’ “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’” After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.” Luke 19:11-28
The one who produced nothing got fried. And the one who produced the most was rewarded the most. There you have it: “I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man” – and the hard man delivered.
Gifts. Return on investment. Reward. Punishment. All that God stuff I hear debated over and again. The “wait till your dad gets home” explicit throughout. The King and His subjects. Us the servants and judged children. All summarised by one theological truth: “It’s not fair”
Or could it be so much more than that – is there a different message our Lord Jesus laid out in a very simple way? Perhaps too simple for us to see?
Because reading these verses this morning I saw no unfairness. No carrot and stick. No investment and return. None of that. All I saw was:
“I will judge you by your own words.”
I saw the consequence of my own individual personal belief. Because whether or not we bring home a thousand lost souls or none – is that what we are really judged on? Logistically that is complete nightmare. And as pointed out: “you take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow” applies to all of us disciplin’ rootin’ tootin’ followers – just how do we know what “return on investment” we are producing anyway?
“I will judge you by your own words.”
And seeing that for the first time today I pondered: Just what are words? Which ones count and which are okay? Would our Father ever think of saying: “I will judge you by your own thoughts”? My God … do thoughts count as well? Are they heard by our Lord and Father? Now that is a scary thought …
boom boom!! 🙂
Whatever my spoken words, my spoken message, my God stuff shared with others … if I ponder quietly inside, seeing a God who is “not fair” … if that is my motivation underneath everything else … what words of mine (spoken or thought-spoken) will I be judged by?
And when you strip everything back … what could be fairer than that?